Hungarian camerawoman apologises for abusive behaviour

Fired Hungarian camera operator apologises for kicking refugees on Hungarian-Serbian border and says she is 'not a heartless racist'

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Footage of Hungarian camerawoman tripping a refugee man carrying small son

The Hungarian TV camerawoman Petra Laszlo who was fired on 8 September over footage of her kicking and tripping desperate refugees has apologised for her behaviour and claimed they were acts carried out in a “situation of panic.”

Laszlo, who stated her apology in a letter to the Magyar Nemzet newspaper, said “something snapped in me” as she saw refugees running towards her. 

“I just thought that I was attacked and I have to protect myself. It’s hard to make good decisions at a time when people are in a panic,” she wrote. 

The incidents took place as hundreds of asylum seekers fleeing their war-torn countries broke through a police line at a collection point close to the Serbian border.

The camerawoman says that it was all a misunderstanding and that she is not racist person. 

“I’m not a heartless, racist, children-kicking camerawoman...I’m just an unemployed mother of small children, who made a bad decision. I am truly sorry,” she said.

The footage of Laszlo kicking and tripping refugees, including a man carrying a small child, went viral after it surfaced and sparked an angry public backlash. 

Footage of Hungarian camerawoman tripping a refugee man carrying small son

Her employment with N1TV, an internet-based TV station close to Hungary's far-right Jobbik party, was also terminated after the incident.

"The camerawoman's employment contract has been terminated with immediate effect as of today, we consider the matter closed," wrote N1TV's editor-in-chief Szabolcs Kisberk on Tuesday and posted the statement on channel's official Facebook page.

Hungarian prosecutors on Thursday also announced that a criminal case for breaching the public peace had been opened against her. 

Sandor Toro, the deputy chief prosecutor of Csongrád county in southern Hungary, stated that officials will also conduct further investigations into her to determine if she is guilty of more serious offences. 

On Friday N1TV's website went offline and said hackers were responsible for the outage.

According to a statement posted on N1TV’s Facebook page, the hackers deleted the entire website including archives and correspondence.

The editor in chief claimed that a Tunisian hacking group called Fallaga Team, linked with information security attacks in the past, “claimed responsibility for the attack," however this is yet to be confirmed. 

Hungary receiving over 140,000 asylum applications alone in 2015 has been heavily criticised for its treatment of refugees mostly fleeing conflict in the Middle East to seek asylum in Europe.

TRTWorld and agencies