Austrian public broadcaster ORF is accused of faking a TV sequence of migrants helping with the massive flooding in Baden-Württemberg.
The floods across Europe have caused immense damage over this past week, leading to several deaths in the southern German region of Bavaria. In Paris, the floods have raised the Seine river so high that many of the artworks in the Louvre have had to be moved for safe keeping.
There has been a great demand for help across Germany to deal with the flooding but residents of a town in Baden-Württemberg claim that an Austrian TV station has co-opted the disaster to improve the public relations for migrants Junge Freiheit reports.
According to the reports, the Austrian state broadcaster ORF were filming a piece on the flooding in the town of Schwäbisch Gmünd and highlighted several migrants who were volunteering to clean up the mess left by the flooding. The migrants can be seen shoveling mud and debris that has been swept into the town after heavy rainfall.
The city spokesman Markus Herrmann confirmed that the entire TV spot had been staged by the ORF saying that they had requested to specifically film migrants cleaning up. By the time the filming had been done on Friday most of the actual cleanup of the damage which consisted of flooded cellars and houses, had already been cleared by the city’s paid employees. The broken furniture and other debris by the roadside, that was included in the footage, was actually left there on purpose by city workers who were planning on collecting it all later.
According to Herrmann, the TV crew had asked to shoot some scenes that showed the results of the clean up initially. Upon hearing that the film makers were in town several migrant caregivers decided to try and bring some of the migrants in their care down to the site where they were filming. Herrmann wasn’t sure why the ORF made the choice to re-shoot the scenes with migrants but said: “The fact is that real refugees have volunteered for the cleanup. Only that there was previously just no film footage of them.”
ORF has since denied the allegations surrounding the filming and has claimed the camera crew did not belong to them. City mayor Richard Arnold has also declared that the filming did not meet his approval and both he and his deputies had not received any kind of request from the TV crew.
German language media has been the subject of severe criticism over its coverage of the migrant crisis. The term lügenpresse or lying press was popularized as many Germans found the coverage of migrants to be overly positive and the negatives heavily glossed over.