Czech tabloid fraudulently tells readers CCTV footage of theft in Chile was from Ostrava - antigypsyism is the response
Czech online social networks are sharing video footage of a young man, accompanied by a woman with a pram and a small child, stealing a television set from the waiting room of a hospital. The video has been viewed more than one million times, and according to the accompanying comments, it is clear that the Czech Internet believes the people in the video are a family - and a Romani one.
A Czech-language article about the theft with the headline "Dad steals a television, Mom stands guard and their child watches. This video from Ostrava will knock you off your feet" was published yesterday evening by the tabloid server Expres.cz. "Journalist" Ctibor Jarkuliš, who is listed as having authored the article, has been duped at best.
The video footage is not from Ostrava at all, but from the Chilean city of San Pedro de la Paz. "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," the Expres.cz article begins.
In the next paragraph the journalist alleges that the theft is already being investigated by Czech Police and that because the television set cost more than CZK 5 000 [EUR 190], the incident is a felony. This blunder by the Expres.cz tabloid, which is owned by the MAFRA company, was noticed by data analyst Kateřina Mahdalová of the Czech News Agency, who then drew attention to it on Czech-language social networking sites.
"Ctibor Jarkuliš alleges that video is from Ostrava and asserts that police are already investigating the theft. The fact is that this video comes from Chile. This theft happened in San Pedro de la Paz and police already caught the perpetrator there long ago," the data analyst posted online.
The case and the apprehension of the thief, Marcelo Abarzúa Cares (age 31) was reported by Chilean media in mid-June. The article on the Czech website Expres.cz included photographs that actually are from a hospital in Ostrava warning of a stolen television set there in April.
Jarkuliš has accomplished a journalistic tour de force here, connecting two thefts of television sets from opposite ends of the earth. The Expres.cz journalist was undeterred by the sign in Spanish reading "Silencio" that can be seen hanging on the wall in the video footage from Chile.
After more than an hour online, the article began to be adjusted by the editors. "Right now the author is augmenting the article and correcting it... the new wording is that a 'similar theft has also taken place in the Ostrava area'," Mahdalová has posted to social networks.
Subsequently the article was removed from the web altogether, but one version of it remains available 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 and continues to be shared by Czech Internet users who apparently believe the perpetrators of the theft are a Romani family.
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