Sex vouchers for migrants? The truth behind Europe’s fake stories

It’s one of those stories you couldn’t make up — except someone did. It said the German government gives migrants free coupons for prostitutes, and the Greek government could follow suit. Or at least, that was the claim made by one Greek nationalist politician and TV personality, Kyriakos Velopoulos, who in February said on his current affairs show that migrants in Germany are given “free vouchers to brothels so they don’t rape the natives.” The assertion has been around for decades with similar claims about Germany and Austria also appearing online. For the record, none of these countries are giving sex coupons to migrants. Ahead of the European Parliamentary elections later this month, analysts who study social media content say some populist politicians are capitalizing on voter misconceptions about the EU, to push misinformation on hot button issues like immigration.
Populist figures meanwhile, say open and critical debate about different cultures is being sacrificed at the altar of political correctness. With populist parties tipped to make big gains in the upcoming election, fact-checkers from across the continent are now combining forces to debunk the tide of political misinformation. We spoke to some of them about their most startling stories — and what they reveal about the issues dividing nations. (…) The article is one of dozens featured on Fact Check EU, an independent project pulling together fact-checking reports from 19 media outlets across Europe. The outlets, including France’s Le Monde and Ireland’s The Journal, are all signatories of the International Fact-Checking Network. Even though the sex coupon story is made-up, it “does try to exploit, manipulate and exacerbate the existing anti-immigrant sentiment in Greece,” said Lamprini Rori, a lecturer in politics at the University of Exeter and spokeswoman at the academic network Greek Politics Specialist Group.

via cnn: Sex vouchers for migrants? The truth behind Europe’s fake stories

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