A regional analysis of media reporting on international actors (EU, USA, and Russia), covering Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia, was conducted by the Belgrade organization CRTA between 14 May and 10 June 2018.
A characteristic of disinformation and fake news is that they are most often published without a clearly stated news source, along with biased and unobjective reporting. A regional analysis of media reporting on international actors (EU, USA, and Russia), covering Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia, conducted by the Belgrade organization CRTA between 14 May and 10 June 2018, showed that more than a third of media content in Serbia on the international actors has no stated sources, which is a basis for potential disinformation. Macedonia has the highest percentage (43%) of content on these international actors containing quotes by unnamed sources. A significantly lower number of articles without quotes was recorded in Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina compared to the other two countries.
The analysis was presented at the opening of the international conference Disinformation – Are We Losing the Game?, held on 28 June 2018 in Belgrade and organized by Istinomer.rs (engl. Truth-o-Meter), the first fact-checking web portal in the region.
As for the content neutral towards the EU and content that is positively biased towards EU (pro-EU content), it varies between 19% and 25% of analysed media content in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia and Montenegro. EU-neutral content is dominant in Serbia (27%), while the percentage of pro-EU content is significantly lower than in other countries (15%) and almost equal to pro-Russia content, i.e. content positively biased towards Russia (14%).
“For an efficient fight against disinformation and fake news, it is necessary that media and journalists verify information, and not only carry them; that decision-makers and institutions work on citizens’ media literacy, and citizens, before they share a piece of news on social networks, should first read it entirely and check the sources”, said Vukosava Crnjanski, CRTA director and founder of Istinomer.rs, at the conference opening.
The phenomenon of disinformation and fake news is not new, but it is under the spotlight due to the speed at which it spreads and influences public opinion. An Eurobarometer research shows that the EU citizens think that disinformation and fake news are a problem in their countries. The same research showed that almost 85% of citizens think that disinformation and fake news are a problem for democracy. The citizens identify media as the first actors in the fight against disinformation (45%), followed by decision makers and institutions – 39%, while more than a third (32%) thinks that citizens can contribute to this fight.
How to fight disinformation in the 21st century and are traditional media capable and how of responding to these challenges – these were the topics of the Istinomer.rs conference Disinformation – Are We Losing the Game?. Among the participants were the representatives of Serbian and foreign media (including, for example, BBC Serbia, Deutsche Welle, Lithuanian web portal Delfi). The conference featured examples of innovative and contemporary approaches to the fight against disinformation and fake news from various parts of the world, such as the most successful projects dealing with media literacy.
Full presentation of the regional media monitoring analysis is available in Serbian on the CRTA website.
Video footage of the conference panels is available on Istinomer.rs YouTube channel.