Slander against Slovak MEP -- no charges for fake accusations of prositution

No one will be punished for spreading lies that the well known Slovak politician and newly elected MEP Lucia Ďuriš Nicholsonová was a sex-worker in Canada.

Ria Gehrerová
Ria Gehrerová Denník N, Slovakia
Source: Denník N
Slander against Slovak MEP -- no charges for fake accusations of prositution - NewsMavens
Lucia Ďuriš Nicholsonová , Wikimedia Commons

Why this story matters:

What can a politician do when lies about her go viral on social media? She can file a complaint and try to explain why is it a lie.

It all began when a former member of the intelligence service posted a false document on Facebook about Slovak Politician Lucia Ďuriš Nicholsonová being imprisoned in Canada as a sex-worker.

Despite the fact that she has evidence that the information is not true, it could not stop the conspiracy theories from going viral on social media. Another Slovak MEP even shared this information at a press conference.

Nicholsonová filed a complaint and expected that someone would be punished for spreading lies about her. But according to the police investigator, the people who shared it did not know it was a lie, and many other people did not believe it anyway. In the end, the police refused her complaint.

This sets a dangerous precendent -- anyone can use disinformation as a form of political battle without being punished. 

Details from the story:

  • Lucia Ďuriš Nicholsonová filed a complaint against police about the fact that the police refused to accept her complaint.
  • What was the impact of these lies? Most of the media did not share this false information without a confirmation from another source, but many people shared it on Facebook. Pro-Kremlin and conspiracy media shared it, too.
  • There was a similar case, when the opposition politician Igor Matovič (Ordinary People and Independent Personalities) said that former prime minister Robert Fico (Smer) had hundreds of millions on Belize. It was just a rumor and there was an anonymous complaint lodged against Matovič. The police refused it, too.

Project #Femfacts co-financed by European Commission Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology as part of the Pilot Project – Media Literacy For All

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NewsMavens is a media start-up within Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland's largest liberal broadsheet published by Agora S.A. NewsMavens is currently financed by Gazeta Wyborcza and Google DNI Fund.
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