Facebook removed pages of a Kurdish MP and a journalist, who provoked the storming of the border in Bruzgi

Polish Territorial Defence Forces
10 mins

На русском языке: Facebook удалил страницы курдского депутата и журналиста, которые спровоцировали штурм границы в Брузгах
На беларускай мове: Facebook выдаліў старонкі курдскага дэпутата і журналіста, якія справакавалі штурм мяжы ў Брузгах

Voice of America reports that Facebook has removed the pages of Kurdish MP Sirwan Baban with 143,000 followers and Kurdish journalist Ranj Pshdary with nearly 270,000 followers. The reason is that these users spread disinformation with the claim that the Kurds who got on the Belarusian-Polish border would be allowed to enter the European Union.

On November 13, Pshdary went live on Facebook, where he said that the EU was allegedly going to open its doors to migrants. There were people in that video calling themselves migrants in Belarus, who urged others to prepare to cross the border with Poland «in the next couple of days.»

«The Polish border will be opened to migrants on November 15 and the migrants will be sent to Germany via buses,» Pshdary said.

As for Sirwan Baban, during the migrant crisis he was a member of the Diaspora Committee of the Kurdistan Regional Parliament and, like Pshdary, gave migrants false hopes through his social networks and media interviews. On November 8, he gave an interview to the Kurdish media network Rudaw, where he said that he had access to the EU «proclamation», which allegedly said that the situation with migrants in Belarus had escalated and had become a tragedy and a global problem. Therefore, according to the MP, the EU informed Poland: «Let Belarus continue its dictatorship. You open your borders and allow the migrants in. Once in Poland, we will distribute them among other European countries.»

That interview got 755,000 views, but in addition to his page, Baban also broadcast live on several Facebook groups and other social networks, where he promoted this misinformation. On November 11, the Kurdistan Regional Parliament’s Diaspora Committee accused Baban of spreading disinformation «that pushes the young into harm’s way» and said he had left the department.

As a result, the false statements of the Kurdish journalist and MP, which were distributed to a wide audience, prompted migrants to come to the Bruzgi border crossing on November 16, 2021, in the hope that Poland would let them into the EU. However, this escalated into clashes with Polish security forces.

Migrants launched a direct attack on the Polish border, throwing stones, sticks and paving slabs at poles, dismantling fences and breaking them with logs. And in response, the Polish side used water cannons to prevent illegal border crossing.

«We followed the crowd towards the Polish borders after rumors on Facebook. It resulted in nothing more than adversity for this destitute people,» Hersh Saeed Ahmad, a Kurdish migrant in Belarus, said.

After storming the border, Kurdish journalist Ranja Pshdary went on Facebook again under the title «I confess that we failed,» where he admitted that he had deliberately misled people. In his opinion, a false statement would create a spectacle with women, children and elderly migrants in the cold, which would embarrass EU politicians and force them to open their doors on a humanitarian basis.

«I don’t want to conceal from you that I was the organizer of the crowd. On Friday, [Nov. 12, 2021], I met with the representatives of the migrants… Seeing that the Belarus police were torturing a lot of young migrants, there was no option but to encourage those people to cut the barbed wire fence so that those young people can be seen as perpetrators and violated against [by the Polish security],» he said.

Pshdary told Voice of America that his plan was a «good intention» and was aimed at helping migrants who desperately turned to him in search of a way out. The publication also contacted Meta to find out whether these pages violate the company’s policy, because until the beginning of January, the accounts continued to publish posts to a wide audience.

«Meta has decided both pages violated our policies for misinformation under Violence & Incitement Community Standards, and both have been taken down,» a spokesperson from the company told Voice of America in an email.

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