Czech Fear Merchants Capitalise on Far-right Rallies

Czech Disinfomers Do Not Believe in Putin but in Money and Likes

21 October 2022

Czech opportunists have made an enterprise out of disinformation. Rallying 70,000 people to Prague in pro-Russian events and receiving considerable donations from thousands of supporters, these fear merchants can reach vulnerable people across the country with grave consequences.

During the pandemic, it became apparent that to succeed as an investigative journalist, it is no longer enough to only cover political corruption or organised crime. The Czech experience with COVID-19 has painfully illuminated the activities of fear merchants: disinformation agents who try to make money by spreading lies. With the help of social media, they are dangerously good at it and have now heavily invested in spreading Russian propaganda.

In the Czech Republic, the most successful provocateurs number in the dozens. Yet the Czech democratic society, which is still sensitive to restrictions on freedom of speech due to its totalitarian past, is unable to defend itself. Although disinformation flows to the Czechs through other channels, these opportunists have a wide and impactful reach.

Ambulance Chasing

It was while investigating the work of Patrik Tušl that a pattern began to emerge. At a time when dozens of people were dying of COVID-19 every day in overcrowded hospitals in the Czech Republic, Tušl was chasing doctors or scientists who were fighting the pandemic through the streets while filming the pursuits on his mobile phone and streaming them all live on Facebook. About 5 million people in the Czech Republic use Facebook, which is roughly half the population.


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Lukáš Valášek

Lukáš Valášek works as an investigative reporter for the daily. In his published stories he described Russian links of campaign sponsors of president Milos Zeman, money flows from the Chinese government to the Charles University in Prague and also a covert media campaign promoting the positive image of PCR, ordered by one of the companies of the billionaire and richest Czech businessman Petr Kellner. Valášek also focuses on the key figures of the Czech disinformation scene. Holder of the 2016, 2019 and 2020 Czech Journalism Prize.


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