LISTEN TO THIS “Ukrainians kicked his butt in Prague; he has holes in his face!” PL reveal chilling bogus testimony.
This week Parlamentnílisty.cz noticed an audio recording that spread quite massively on WhatsApp. It is about a minute long and contains a convincing voice of an unknown man. He describes a brutal attack in Prague’s Jižní Město borough, in which a family acquaintance from Belarus was physically attacked. Four Ukrainians supposedly beat him up in connection to the invasion of Ukraine.
“So it started. I came home and here in the garage I met Belarusians packing a car, yeah, the lady said that they’re leaving here, that they have information that the swines from Azov are here, so they’re packing and going home, there will be pogroms for Russians,”
According to the man, whose voice is very stable, calm and convincing in the recording, Belarusians don’t feel safe in the capital anymore.
<description of the attack>
People who sent us the audio did not know the voice on the recording. They all gave the same answer “it came from our acquaintance”.
Therefore, Parlamentnílisty.cz turned to both the City police and Prague police for verification of the incident. They were not successful, even after several days. Prague police do not know anything about a supposed aggressive attack, which can only be explained in one way: the recording is a calculated lie, designed to harm the image of Ukrainians in the Czech metropolis.
<quote from the police spokesperson>
“‘POSLECHNĚTE SI „Ukrajinci Ho v Praze Dokopali, Že Má Díry v Obličeji!‘ PL Odhalily Vylhané Svědectví, z Něhož Mrazí.’” Parlamentní Listy, 21 Mar. 2022, https://www.parlamentnilisty.cz/zpravy/kauzy/POSLECHNETE-SI-Ukrajinci-ho-v-Praze-dokopali-ze-ma-diry-v-obliceji-PL-odhalily-vylhane-svedectvi-z-nehoz-mrazi-696480.
- Appeal to listen to a recording, which is later revealed to be fake
- While the fact that it is bogus is in the title, it is overshadowed by the quote. The use of the word “chilling” is an appeal to emotion with no regards to the fact that the recording is fake. It creates a feeling, that while it is fake now, it could be true at some other time.
- First mention of the word “convincing“ when talking about the recording
- Emotionally charged and threatening language
- Second mention of the word “convincing“, alongside other reassuring words
- Acquaintances being an unverifiable source that sounds trustworthy to people
- Reportedly, there was an attempt at finding a credible source of the recording and the process seems professional enough. The “seriousness” is backed by the quote by the police spokesperson.
The information in the article is in conflict with its presentation: while the conclusion of the article is that the recording is fake, its focus is on the contents of said fake recording, using terms like “chilling”, “calm” and “convincing”. The actual verification process is only mentioned in a paragraph at the end of the article.
A Study out of Columbia University shows that 59% of links shared on social media have never actually been clicked; a phenomenon brought to public attention in such media as The Science Post, and Washington Post. The latter of which also wrote about sharebait – websites designed solely to be shared. Because of this, a large number of people will only get information from the title, and possibly a short excerpt beneath it. In the case of this article, both of these are focused on the recording itself, even encouraging the readers to listen to it, and using vocabulary such as “convincing” and “chilling”.
While it does mention that the recording is bogus, it is only elaborated upon at the end of the article. The combination of “chilling” and “bogus” is also an oxymoron that raises questions: why is it chilling if it is bogus? Is it really bogus if it is chilling?
About the source:
Parlamentnílisty.cz (Parliamentary papers) is a publicist internet portal focused on current events. It has been running since 2008 and it is not connected to the Parliament of the Czech Republic. The website has been a regular subject of criticism for circulating pro-Russian propaganda, hate speech against Roma, Muslims, immigrants, and instilling fear. Among its critics are political scientists from Masaryk University in Brno, Petra Vejvodová and Miloš Gregor, who published a study on the topic of Czech disinformation websites. Several critical articles have also been published by hlidacipes.org, Forum 24, Respekt.cz, and Idnes.cz