Counterfeit press cards sold on the dark web present a threat to the Danish police. Law enforcement in the country take the fake press cards, which are advertised for nearly $160, seriously. The Danish Parliament emphasized that the journalists’ bags and jackets should be screened no matter if they own a press card.
According to the Danish media outlet Journalisten, darknet vendors are advertising counterfeit press cards for 1,000 DKK, the equivalent of $159. The customers can use their own photos and personal information for the orders, which will get shipped in 21 days.
A press card provides access to police closures and closed arrangements. At an official event, the press card means a lot when assessing who is allowed to get through, press officer Thomas Kristensen explained.
“When we stand and want to give access to the media where there is a barrier. If someone begins to use fake press cards, it makes a complicated process even more complex,” Mr. Kristensen said. The press officer added that nowadays, it is harder to identify “real” journalists because of the “new faces”. According to him, security authorities are more concerned about amateur photographers, freelancers, production companies, and those who are working for one TV station one day and another TV station the next day.
Mr. Kristensen stated that it is a common interest for both authorities and the media to use only legitimate press cards. He urged Danish journalists to keep an eye on suspicious individuals the journalists “have not seen before.”
“It’s not entirely new to us that this can be done. Therefore, when we stand somewhere where the press card is required for access, we will also add a healthy amount of ‘snuff’. Does this print card look true, what country do you say you are from and what do you bring to this press conference?,” Mr. Kristensen said, highlighting that the police is aware of fake press cards.
The Danish parliament is one of the places where official press cards provide extended access. Mikael Schrage, a consultant in the parliament, said that every citizen in the country has the right to enter the Folketing (the Danish parliament) but possessing a press card gives a person extended access to the building.
Journalists with press cards have access to the press center as well as the press lane, where one can follow meetings in the room close by, as well as being able to walk freely to and from the members of the Parliamentary office.
Mr. Schrage emphasized that it is impossible for the servants of the Parliament to take full action against false press cards.
“We receive many international journalists, who have press cards from all possible countries. We have no earthly chance to check if a press card is validly issued in China,” Mr. Schrage said.
Furthermore, Mr. Schrage said that the parliament does not screen people alone on their press cards. Journalists who are in possession of press cards must also go through a security check. The consultant said that the screening is similar to the one airport officials use – checking the bags and the jackets of the individuals. Parliament security also asks the journalists of their future activities in the Danish Parliament.
The Danish Journalists’ Federation has never seen the sale of illegal copies of the union’s press cards. Communications Manager Troels Johannesen calls the situation “totally terrifying”. According to Mr. Johannesen, the sale of fake press cards is an abuse of the “important work tool” press cards present for many of their members.
Mr. Kristensen said that it can be difficult to investigate this kind of crime since it takes on the dark web, which is highly anonymous. To access the Dream Market, where the fake cards are sold, individuals have to use the Tor browser, which makes it harder to monitor the users, the officials added.