Czech tabloid apologizes for fake news report claiming video from Chile was from Ostrava
The Editor-in-Chief of the tabloid news server Expres.cz, Petr Konečný, apologized on 18 July for publishing an untrue news item about the theft of a television from a hospital waiting room. The tabloid alleged on 16 July that a video of such an incident in San Pedro de la Paz, Chile was from the Czech city of Ostrava.
Czech-language Internet users assumed in their online discussions of the incident that the theft had been perpetrated by Romani people. News server Romea.cz reported on the issue on 17 July.
"The editors of Expres.cz apologize to readers for the erroneous information presented in Monday's article headlined 'Dad steals a television, Mom stands guard and their child watches. This video from Ostrava will knock you off your feet', which discussed the theft of a television from a doctor's waiting room," Konečný posted on 18 July. "The article featured inaccurate fact-checking and the editors of Express erroneously stated that video footage from a CCTV camera came from a hospital in Ostrava when it actually was a viral video originating in Chile. We apologize to all of our readers for this error and for our lack of professionalism."
The video first began to spread in the Czech-language environment of online social networks when it was noticed by editor Ctibor Jarkuliš of Expres.cz. "Are you amazed by how far human impertinence can go? You don't have to go far to find it, just to northern Moravia. In a hospital in Ostrava this little family is stealing a television set directly from the waiting room and their young child is watching. Everybody has their own ideas about child-rearing," read his introduction to the news item.
The fact is that the video is from Chile. The theft happened in San Pedro de la Paz and police apprehended the perpetraor there long ago.
Chilean media reported on the case and the arrest of the thief, Marcelo Abarzúa Cares (age 31) in mid-June. When links to the Chilean media reports began to be posted to the discussion online beneath the Czech article, the editor began to adjust the wording before the piece was removed from the web altogther, but one version remains stored in the memory of the Google search engine.
Through online social networks in the Czech-langauge environment, however, the video has already been viewed more than one million times. Czech Internet users apparently believe the perpetrators of the theft are a Romani family.
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