Czech policeman behind anti-refugee film hoax

An anti-refugee hoax video filmed by a Czech tourist went viral across Europe and more than 1.2 million people saw it. Now an internal police investigation regarding his actions is underway.

Sofija Kordic
Sofija Kordic NewsMavens, Czechia
Czech policeman behind anti-refugee film hoax - NewsMavens
Filming ocean, PixaBay

Why this story matters:

On a Crete beach at the end of July, a holidaymaker from Czechia, Marek Chrastina, came across a video production team shooting veiled women drowning in the water. He captured the film team's crew on his cell phone, sarcastically commenting: “Poor migrants… And that’s exactly how it works, what they show us on TV.”

The AFP news agency and the German website both independently uncovered the fact that Chrastina’s video doesn’t show a TV crew fabricating a story, but rather filmmakers filming the documentary "Country of the Virgin Mary of Sorrows" about Greeks escaping Asia Minor during the Turkish-Greek war in 1922. 

Nevertheless, the damage was done. Chrastina had already uploaded the video to his Facebook page. Pro-Russian Czech website AE News, which the Czech Ministry of Interior has listed among fake news media, published the video with an article full of hate speech against Muslims, refugees and migrants. The video was shared on Facebook by Radim Fiala, the deputy of the SPD, extreme right-wing party. There was a version with English subtitles on YouTube. More than 1.2 million people from Czechia, Poland, Spain, France and UK saw it.

Details from the story:

  • “Nobody knows that I’m a policeman. If you write that down, I’ll deny it, said Chrastina to the Czech weekly “Respekt”. 
  •  I’ll apologize myself to the movie director when I see the movie. Unless I see it with my own eyes I don’t believe in it. I still see it differently -- read what AE News wrote about it”, said the Czech policeman to a Respekt journalist. 
  • A spokesman from the Czech Police claims that a reference to fake news media by a policeman whose duties are connected with internet is a far more serious problem than if it was a policeman who is not dealing with the internet in his daily job. 
  • The Czech police's internal control wants to investigate the incident for possible police misconduct. 
  • In the recent interview that Chrastina gave to the Czech Radio website via Facebook Messenger, he said that he saw excerpts from the documentary about Greek refugees from Asia Minor, and that he would offer an apology which would be incorporated in the documentary.  
  • When asked if he planned to apologize on his FB profile, Chrastina said that he would do it once the film is finished. 

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