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[ISN] Mushroom Cloud Pranksters to Stand Trial
January 04, 2008
A Prague artists' collective made headlines in 2007 -- and frightened a
number of people -- by slipping a digital image of a nuclear blast into
a live weather-cam broadcast. Now six artists may face jail.
Last June, anyone watching a certain Czech weather channel at the right
moment saw a panning shot of the countryside near the Krkonose, or Giant
Mountains, in Bohemia, when a yellow flash filled their screens and a
skinny mushroom cloud lifted in the distance.
It was a hoax. A Czech artists' group had inserted the explosion
digitally. A state prosecutor said on Thursday that six members of the
group will now have to stand trial for the hack. They could face up to
three years in jail.
The TV channel CT2 received frantic phone calls from viewers who thought
a nuclear war had started. But the Prague-based collective, Ztohoven,
said it had mounted the hoax to show how media images could be
"We are neither a terrorist organization nor a political group," a
statement by Ztohoven said. "Our aim is not to intimidate society or
manipulate it, which is something we witness on a daily basis both in
the real world and that created by the media. On June 17 2007, [we]
attacked the space of TV broadcasting, distorting it, questioning its
truthfulness and its credibility."
They had climbed a TV tower and hacked into the weather camera and
broadcast cable with a computer. They also inserted a Web address for
Ztohoven in a corner of the screen.
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