Hundreds of migrants have mobilized for the Greek border | PHOTO: picture-alliance/dpa/G. Papanikos
Hundreds of migrants have mobilized for the Greek border | PHOTO: picture-alliance/dpa/G. Papanikos

The German government, responding to clashes between migrants and police on the Greek-Turkish border on Friday April 5, has promised to act quicker to quell misinformation about migration and migration routes on the web.

An under-secretary in the German Interior Ministry, Stephan Mayer from the CSU, told the Catholic news agency KNA, that, in future, the German authorities would work quicker to quell ‘misinformation’ online regarding migration routes. KNA was reporting his words from an interview he gave to the German newspaper Die Welt on Monday April 8.

The German politician was responding to the clashes which broke out on the Turkish-Greek border between security personnel and hundreds of migrants on Friday April 5. The clashes happened after a number of rumors and ‘misinformation’ was circulated by a group of migrants hoping that if they could gather enough people on the borders the numbers would force the authorities to open the borders for them and allow them to journey through Greece; their hope was eventually to reach countries in northern Europe.

The organization of misinformation

The migrant group themselves had put out a number of notices telling migrants that the authorities were about to open the borders and allow onward travel. KNA reports that once some migrants read these messages, they quickly bought train tickets with the intention of traveling through Greece.

Mayer said that the “aggression and violence” perpetrated by some of the migrants against the Greek police on Friday "could not be justified and was absolutely unacceptable.” He called for “a strengthening of cooperation between authorities” all along the route in order to combat false information. He said that migrants should be able to rely on news from governments, non-governmental organizations and the European border agency Frontex and be told when someone was trying to disseminate false information, in order to avoid situations like Friday happening again.

Alexander Dobrindt, a senior member of the CSU and one of the group’s leaders in the German parliament, said that the technique of disseminating false information about migration had been going on since at least 2015. He called those that do it “criminal” and said that they were openly trying to pit migrants and authorities against each other in order to encourage violence. He too called for quicker reactions to counter this information. At the moment Germany’s foreign office tries to correct false information from circulating.


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