BUDAPEST (Reuters) - A Hungarian TV station that employed a camerawoman who kicked and tripped migrants fleeing from police this week was offline on Friday, with its website blaming hackers for the outage.
Earlier, Petra Laszlo, who has been questioned by police on suspicion of disorderly conduct for kicking and tripping up refugees at a camp in southern Hungary, had written an open letter expressing regret for her “panic”-driven behavior.
In a post on its Facebook page, N1TV, also known as Nemzeti (National) TV, said hackers from a Turkish internet address had wiped its entire website, including the station’s archive and correspondence.
“The Tunisian Islamist hacker group Fallaga Team has claimed responsibility for the attack,” Szabolcs Kisberk, the station’s editor-in-chief, said in the statement.
A group calling itself Fallaga Team, which has a Twitter account, has been linked with information security attacks in the past, but Reuters has no evidence to support the station’s claim.
The camerawoman was fired on Tuesday from the right-wing news station after videos of her actions spread in the media and on the internet.
The station’s web page was blank except for a logo and a message in Hungarian and English on Friday afternoon.
Separate videos show her kicking a girl and tripping up a man carrying a child as hundreds of migrants, many of them Syrian refugees, break away from police on Hungary’s southern border with Serbia.
“I honestly regret what happened ... I am practically in shock from what I did, and what was done to me,” Laszlo wrote in a letter posted on mno.hu, the website of the newspaper Magyar Nemzet.
She said she had panicked when hundreds of migrants started running towards her, and had wanted to protect herself.
“I am not a heartless, racist camerawoman who would kick children ... I am a woman, a mother of small children, who has since lost her job, and who made a bad decision in a panic,” she added.
Hungary’s right-wing government has taken a hard line on the flow of migrants across its borders en route to western Europe, describing them as a threat to Europe’s prosperity and Christian values.
More than 170,000 migrants, many of them refugees from the Syrian conflict, have been recorded entering Hungary so far this year.
Police have been trying to round them up and register them in line with European Union rules, but many migrants refuse, fearing that they will then be forced to stay in Hungary rather than move on to Germany or Sweden.
Reporting by Krisztina Than and Thomas Escritt; Editing by Andrew Roche