The first of this year’s DFC Magazine issue brings the 2020 retrospective of the influence of disinformation, narratives, and conspiracy theories on political events in Montenegro. Recently, the independent experts analyzed the information environment in the six Western Balkan countries for the needs of the European Parliament. Given that their study contains imprecise information, one-sided conclusions, and incorrect data, the DFC analyzed the stated observations about Montenegro. Likewise, the new DFC Magazine issue presents the most important messages sent by participants during a panel discussion on disinformation within the tenth 2BS Forum, as well as the new DFC podcast Under the Loupe with professor Bozena Jelusic giving her perception on media literacy in Montenegro.

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Podcast Under the Loupe represents a short video form of a conversation with the experts in certain fields, in order to raise awareness of disinformation, media literacy, and technologies.

In episode 002, we are talking with Bozena Jelusic, professor of Literature and Media Literacy, about what media literacy presents, what is the situation like in Montenegro and why do we need this subject in school curriculum on all educational stages.

Bozena Jelusic graduated and obtained her MA degree at the Department of General Literature and Theory of Literature at the Faculty of Philology in Belgrade. After completing her studies, she was working as a professor of Literature and Media Literacy in the Grammar School Danilo Kis in Budva until 2017. She received the highest Montenegrin award in the field of education, OKTOIH (2000). From the beginning, she has been included in the reform of Montenegrin education system as a member of the Council for General Education, methodologist of the literature and media education, author of the school curriculum and the readers for the fourth grade of the grammar school. She initiated the introduction of the Media Literacy subject in the Montenegrin education system, the same year when UNESCO adopted the Paris Declaration on Media and Information Literacy. She is a member of the Media Literacy Coalition and actively cooperates as an expert in the Institute for Education and NGOs engaged in media literacy. Since recently, she is an MP in the Parliament of Montenegro.

Podcast Under the Loupe represents a short video form of a conversation with the experts in certain fields, in order to raise awareness of disinformation, media literacy, and technologies.

In episode 001, we are talking with Aleksandar Brezar about the current issue of conspiracy theories, which found their place on a daily agenda with the coronavirus outbreak. Aleksandar Brezar is a journalist, fact-checker with many years of experience in media, from press and radio to television and internet. He is a proud holder of the Balkan Factchecking Award from 2017, given by the Istinomjer and Pointer Institute. He is the host of the Sarajevo Calling podcast.

Education is the only way for societies to fight disinformation in the long run, a dangerous phenomenon that causes serious damage to all countries – was concluded on the panel dedicated to the fight against disinformation, organized within the jubilee tenth 2BS Forum, held on December 11.

Milan Jovanović, from the Digital Forensic Center, believes that the existence of political will and understanding of key decision-makers about the negative implications of this phenomenon is crucial for the success of the fight against fake news in all societies. No fact-checking organization can deal with such a complex phenomenon on its own. The answer must be multi-sectoral, ie it must include the cooperation of fact-checking organizations, the media, but it must also be on the political agenda, he pointed out.

Recalling that disinformation has existed since the language itself, Jovanovic said that, thanks to technology, it has come to the fore and became an everyday topic. Since the 2016 US elections, which are considered a turning point in the global rise of this phenomenon, the use of technology has enabled states, non-state actors, and politicians to spread disinformation, interfere in other countries’ internal affairs, create public opinion, and benefit themselves, he said. He emphasized that technology in its core is not good nor bad, but what we make out of it.

As an example, Jovanovic said that during the last parliamentary elections in Montenegro, the entire country was exposed to an organized campaign and artillery of fake news, primarily from Serbia, to such an extent that the observer could not escape the impression that Montenegro was on the brink of civil war. It was similar when Montenegro was admitted to NATO.

Besides, the current pandemic has also strengthened conspiracy theories and generated many doubts and crooked lines, and the receptivity of these theories to ordinary citizens lies in the fact that they offer easy and uncomplicated answers to complex questions, such as the current pandemic, Jovanovic concluded.

Drawing a parallel between the 2016 U.S. election and this year, Nicholas Yap of the U.S. Atlantic Council said that during this campaign, fake news was much easier to detect and that the proactive approach of fact-checking organizations had a positive result. However, the producers of fake news have themselves changed their tactics, adapted the content, leaving the biggest platforms, and targeting the content to special groups, and they are still successful in that business. He pointed out that now some countries are even making pacts on how to hide hacker attacks or generate fake news, giving them a more authentic look. In that context, he mentioned Russia and Iran. As the only successful way to fight the fake news, he also mentioned education, but also the engagement of the whole society.

Jakub Janda, director of the European Values Think-Tank, pointed to the many similarities between how Russia and China use fake news. They have the same strategic goals in Europe, and that is to squeeze out the United States, to break transatlantic ties, and to achieve their dominant influence in Eastern Europe and the Western Balkans. Unlike aggressive Russia, which uses some countries as proxies, China has a quieter but persistent and firm approach, it buys political influence by finding politicians who, attracted by certain benefits, will promote its interest and spread the misinformation it wants.
Currently, the goals of the disinformation that China is spreading are to remove the blame from that country for the coronavirus pandemic, then to show China as a savior who helps by sharing equipment, and finally to present the United States as a selfish force that does not want to help. He said that China will punish countries in Europe that try to exclude its technology giants from the tender for setting up a 5G network, that it would punish those who have good relations with Taiwan, and that it would try to divert attention from its human rights violations. What worries him is that, unlike the US, Europe has no answer to that. It seems that Europe is not worried, so there is no reason for either China or Russia to change their behavior, concluded Janda.

The Constitution of the new Government of Montenegro was the main topic in the month behind us, in both Montenegrin and Serbian media, whose reporting is marked by sensationalism. Besides this, read about the narratives on a negation of Montenegrin identity and census in Montenegro envisaged for 2021 in our new magazine issue. The US post-election events are also covered in this issue, therefore, take look at what are the new-old theories, spread by both media and politicians.

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The session of the Parliament of Montenegro on the appointment of the new Prime Minister and members of the 42nd Parliament started yesterday, on December 2, and the discussion was tainted by criticism mainly of both the government and the opposition.

Typical of the Serbian media reporting is their focusing on the presence of Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic at the session, which was covered by sensationalist headlines: SHOCK IN PODGORICA Krivokapic reads the exposition, Milo is gaping in the first row!; DISPUTES WITH MILO’S PEOPLE: Here’s what the DPS supporters jeered at Krivokapic; „NOT OUR GOVERNMENT“ Chaos in Podgorica, Milo brought women outside Zdravko’s window, they are bawling out! (VIDEO). Besides, the news portal Pravda states that everything is in complete disarray because Montenegro does not still have a Government.

By the way, the session was previously scheduled for November 24, but because of the suspicions that the new ruling majority intended to appoint the new Government on the anniversary of the abolition of Montenegro’s independence in 1918 – it was postponed. The Serbian news portals presented the reason for the postponement with sensationalist headlines: MILO FOUND A LOOPHOLE IN THE CALENDAR, the DPS has a way to stay in power (Alo), KOMITAS AND MILO SET THE DATE: Due to the pressure of the Montenegrin nationalists the appointment of the new Government postponed for December 2 (Novosti).

Even the decision of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to declare the Ambassador of Serbia to Montenegro Vladimir Bozovic persona non grata gave rise to a new narrative. The news portal Nacionalist published a statement of Vladislav Jovanovic, a former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, in which he claimed that the expulsion of Ambassador Bozovic was a tendency of the outgoing regime to complicate the situation to the new Government in order to have ground for their possible come back in future.

Criticizing the Prime Minister-designate

Contrary to the election reporting that praised the holder of the list For the Future of Montenegro Zdravko Krivokapic, the Serbian media rhetoric has changed after the elections with him targeted by many news portals. Therefore, the Informer tabloid writes that the technocratic government of Milo Djukanovic continues to apprehend priests of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) in Montenegro, emphasizing that Prime Minister-designate Zdravko Krivokapic approved the apprehensions at first, while the leader of the It’s in Black and White coalition Dritan Abazovic did not comment on that. Informer presented the event as an ongoing tremendous pressure on Serbs and the persecution of the SPC. Even the news portal Srbija danas criticized Krivokapic and stated that the Prime Minister-designate had double standards because he condemned the threat to Abazovic, but did not react when the assassination of one of the DF leaders Milan Knezevic was planned.

The news portal Republika spread the narrative that businessman Miodrag Daka Davidovic decided to found a new political party in order to provide Prime Minister-designate Zdravko Krivokapic with political support and infrastructure for challenges of the future elections. The move was understood as underhand dealings of the next Prime Minister and the businessman in Montenegro. They added that, according to the findings of Srpski telegraf, the goal was to marginalize the Democratic Front, which is the greatest impetus of the fight against Milo Djukanovic’s regime.

The Prime Minister-designate was targeted by Serbian media even because of the issue of revoking Kosovo’s independence recognition. The news portals Novosti and Pravda wrote that the messages sent during Metropolitan Amfilohije’s funeral were a clear indicator of the general attitude of the believers regarding the Kosovo issue, but also the differences in attitudes regarding the same issue of the new ruling majority headed by Prime Minister-designate Krivokapic. The headlines of both texts stated that the Kosovo issue is Amfilohije’s test for Krivokapic and that it opened the question of revoking the recognition of that fake state.

Similar messages were sent by the member of the main board of the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) Vladimir Djukanovic. He appealed that all of those who were shouting We don’t give you Kosovo (MNE: Ne damo Kosovo) during Metropolitan Amfilohije’s funeral should make straight away the next Prime Minister Zdravko Krivokapic revoke the recognition of the independence of that state. Djukanovic also criticized the initial candidates of the Prime Minister-designate Zdravko Krivokapic for the new Government. Via his Twitter account, he questioned the expertise of Dritan Abazovic, as well as the Montenegrin language that Nikola Terzic, the initial candidate for the Minister of Interior, is speaking.

Krivokapic was criticized for his alleged anti-Serbian politics. The news portal Objektiv writes that he stabbed Serbs in their backs, the Serbs who helped him win the elections and which he expelled from the Cabinet. The texts highlight that Krivokapic has been portrayed several times as Milo Djukanovic’s man, and that the question raises whether he was Djukanovic’s Trojan horse.

Whom will Krivokapic and Abazovic kowtow first?

The Serbian media were highly interested in the positioning of the leader of the Civic Movement URA Dritan Abazobvic in the new Government. The news portal Novosti claimed that Dritan will be given a position and that his seat is being secured. After the lawyer Nikola Terzic had withdrawn his candidacy for the Minister of Interior, Novosti wondered whether Abazovic would get it.

The information that the first official visit of the next Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister would be to Brussels – that the leader of URA stated after the working breakfast with the Head of the EU Delegation to Montenegro Oana Cristina Popa, the Alo news portal published with the sensationalist headline: IT IS KNOWN WHOM TO KOWTOW Here’s what Krivokapic and Abazovic will firstly visit.

What is the outgoing government cooking up?

Besides Prime Minister-designate Krivokapic, the Serbian media targeted the outgoing government too, notably the President of Montenegro Milo Djukanovic and his Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS). The narrative on divisions in Djukanovic’s DPS and the dissolution of the party have been relaunched with sensationalist headlines: Milo’s on the hook, the DPS on the verge of collapse (Alo), THE DPS ON THE VERGE OF COLLAPSE: Tremendous turmoil and divisions in the former strongest political party in Montenegro (Srbija danas).

The narrative that the regime will not hand over the power peacefully and that it will do everything to prevent that has also been accentuated. The news portals Informer and Srbija danas published statements of analyst Bosko Vukicevic that the outgoing government was trying to thwart the constitution of the new Government by approving official projects that involve businessmen close to them. Vukicevic’s view on the situation was presented in headlines such as MILO’S REGIME HIT THE GROUND! The analyst revealed the last devious plan of the OUTGOING GOVERNMENT (Srbija danas), MILO SHARES PEOPLE’S MONEY WITH HIS BUSINESSMEN, THE LAST DEVIOUS PLAN OF THE OUTGOING GOVERNMENT! Krivokapic and his team must react swiftly, every hour is important! (Informer).

By analyzing the Serbian media content about events in Montenegro in the post-election period, the DFC has discovered that they were mainly publishing official statements of the politicians or institutions while wrapping them up in tendentious headlines in order to spread particular narratives.

Two events out of which one already occurred and the other is ahead of us are again reviving the narrative on the negation of the Montenegrin statehood and identity. The first event were the elections (held on August 30) that were won by the then opposition parties, which resulted in the change of the government. The other one is the census planned for 2021.

In the post-election months, which brought the shift on the Montenegrin political scene, the actors wanting to make another Serbian state out of Montenegro are being increasingly present. Equally, they are negating the fundamental values of the Montenegrin anti-fascism and destroying the state’s secularism. The planned campaign reflected in the negation of identity values of the Montenegrin society is very intense.

Federal State of Serbia, Montenegro and the Republic of Srpska

The most prominent advocate of the union of Montenegro, Serbia, and the Republic of Srpska into one federal state is undoubtedly Aleksandar Rakovic, Serbian historian and ideologist of the Greater Serbia project – the Serbian world. In his interview for Novosti, Rakovic assessed that after the regime had changed in Montenegro, the future of Montenegro-Serbia relations laid in the union of Belgrade, Podgorica, and Banjaluka into one federal state. While explaining that idea, he said that both Serbia and Montenegro are the historical states of the Serbs since, as he stated, both countries are connected by the Serbian statehood.

In October this year at the conference The position of Serbs after the fall of Milo Djukanovic’s regime, Rakovic presented a new strategy of the Serbian world towards Montenegro. The strategy specifies that Serbs in Montenegro should become the relative majority on the census, and subsequently, that the union of all Serbs’ states on the Western Balkans be presented as a legitimate initiative. During his speech, he stated that the Serbian national idea is mainstreamed in Montenegrin politics and the union cannot be taboo. It is a completely legitimate and legal idea. The union of all Serbs’ states in the area of ex-Yugoslavia is a completely legal idea, Rakovic said.

Minister of Internal Affairs of Serbia Aleksandar Vulin also has a positive attitude toward the Serbian world and the union of all Serbs under the auspices of the Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic. The last accusation in the Bosniak and Montenegrin media is that Vucic is creating the Serbian world. I believe and hope that the accusation is true; Vucic should be creating the Serbian world. Belgrade needs to gather all the Serbs within and around itself, and the President of Serbia is the President of all Serbs, Minister Vulin stated in September.

Negating the Montenegrin identity

The narrative negating Montenegrin identity is becoming increasingly dominant. Therefore, Dr. Radmilo Marojevic, former Dean of the Faculty of Philology in Belgrade, stated on the panel discussion held in the Serbian house that Montenegrins, Bosniaks, and Croats living in Montenegro were falsely declaring themselves to be of such ethnicities, referring to the local, geographical or imported identity detriment.  Dr. Marojevic thinks that Serbs or Shqiptars (author’s comment: pejorative name for Albanians) have their ethnic orientationIn the ethnic sense, neither have Montenegrins ever existed nor do they exist today nor could they exist; this platitude can only destroy Montenegro as a historical reality and, of course, the native people of Montenegro, dr Marojevic said.

Member of the Main Board of the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) Vladimir Djukanovic negated the Montenegrin nation by equalizing Montenegrins and Serbs as one nation. Appearing on a TV show Serbian World on the national television IN4S and commenting on the work of deceased Metropolitan Amfilohije, Djukanovic said that he revived the living Serbian organism and Montenegrins, emphasizing that when he says Montenegrins, he means Serbs above all. In order to confirm the statements, he quoted deceased Archpriest-Staurophore Lazar Milin who said that a Montenegrin who is not a Serb is not a Montenegrin either.

The census has shaken the public

The planned census in Montenegro is presented as an issue of the survival of the country and the people. And while in the world the census represents a collection of statistical data, in Montenegro it is a political issue and a battleground of both sides.

The topic of the census in Montenegro is increasingly present in the Serbian media, even though not to the same extent as the texts on the new Government constitution. The dominant narrative is that Montenegrins are scared of the census due to the inevitable increase of the number of Serbs; hence the proposal to postpone the census. News portal Alo states that the outgoing government and the Centre for Democratic Transition (CDT) close to them have been leading the campaign in a panicky manner in order to postpone the regular census. Sputnik Serbia, inter alia, writes that the postponement of the census represents a humiliation of the ethnic Montenegrins and that due to the governance of the outgoing regime, the clear criteria of what it means to be a Montenegrin have been lost.

Besides the media, the politicians and activists express their attitudes on the census in Montenegro. Mayor of Budva Marko Bato Carevic explained that he would use his position to help the Serbs in Montenegro be equal. As he says, that is what he is expecting after the regular census scheduled for the next year. Until now, people did not have a right to express their true opinions and feelings. My goal is for this to happen for the first time on this census, in order to obtain a real image about our society, mayor of Budva and member of the DF stated.

Cedomir Antic, a Serbian historian and one of the advocates of the Greater Serbia project – the Serbian World, also has a plan for the census. He assessed that the Serbs should be a majority on the upcoming census in Montenegro, while the Montenegrins should account for 25%. He believes that Montenegro will remain independent and multi-ethnic if the Serbs get an opportunity to develop themselves freely in democracy and equality. Serbs will account for 50% of the population, while Montenegrins will account for 25%. That is the truth and reality; it has nothing to do with the current government, but whether the country is free or democratic, Antic said.

Serbian world – an illusion

While appearing on Different radio connection (Drugačija radio veza), Sonja Biserko, president of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, was asked whether Biden’s victory would destroy the project of the Serbian World. She responded that this project objectively does not stand much of a chance. If it did, it would probably have stronger support from the international actors. Due to the international context, which is still fluid, and the international order is not consolidated, the Serbian nationalists think that the issue of borders has not been resolved yet and that a convenient moment is needed. It is an illusion that an end will be put on, but Serbia is wasting its historical time by remaining committed to that project, Biserko said.

There is no simple decision in the fight against fake news and the best way to fight this phenomenon is through education and strengthening of media literacy, said Lordan Prelog, a founder of the Museum of Fake News from Croatia, in an interview for the DFC magazine.

The Museum was opened in the middle of October and functions as an online platform for publishing different content, from fake news and disinformation circling around to the media literacy development tools.

Prelog explains that the Museum, as a unique project in the Balkans, can contribute to the fight against the global phenomenon of fake news to a smaller extent, but it is crucial to develop critical thinking among the youth.

He thinks that a lack of confidence in the scientists and journalists has to do with the media literacy level of the citizens and he added that official estimations show that the material damage in the world due to direct and indirect consequences of disinformation for 2019 amounts to 78 billion dollars!

DFC: In the middle of October, you founded the Museum of Fake News – an online platform with the tools to develop media literacy and fight against disinformation. Why did you decide to initiate such a project? Did any particular event motivate you to do so?

Lordan PRELOG: We would like to raise awareness among the citizens to the prevalence of fake news and teach them how to recognize it in media and on the internet, particularly on social media where they are widespread. The first phase of the project, founding the Museum of Fake News on the internet, is just a small contribution to the global fight against disinformation and, in fact, it serves as one of the additional mechanisms for the fight against disinformation.

By the way, the project is a result of the work of the Institute for new media and electronic democracy, which, among other things, has been organizing the international conference Information technology and journalism in Dubrovnik for 25 years. We have great cooperation with the local and foreign experts and we are the only SOMA member in Croatia (Social Observatory for Disinformation and Social Media Analysis), one of the leading networks consisting of many institutions that are engaged in fake news debunking.

THE PAST, THE PRESENT AND THE FUTURE IN THE MUSEUM

DFC: What are the further plans for the development of the Museum?

Lordan PRELOG: At the beginning of the story, the organization of the Museum’s content was based on four pillars, which approach the creation, development, importance, and consequences of this phenomenon through different approaches. The first pillar, THE PAST, is imagined as a place where the most famous fake news from the last hundred (or more) years would be exposed. We would process the stories on the most prominent news among the public as objectively as we can.

The chosen latest fake news from the local media and testimonies of the recognized journalists and scientists constitute the core of the museum, the second pillar – THE PRESENT. After some time, the news, together with the most interesting comments and part of a debate, is stored in the archive and available for search.

The third pillar, THE FUTURE, is dedicated to media literacy education. The introductory texts speak of the importance of the introduction and development of education about this field. Short training courses will also be offered in the form of quizzes, games, labyrinths, which symbolically award those who (rapidly and successfully) accomplish particular tasks.

The goal of the fourth pillar – THE WHY is to explain the disinformation phenomenon, therefore it contains a collection of more than 300 most prominent scientific and expert texts on that phenomenon. It is useful for science (researchers), education (teachers), journalists, politicians, etc.

We are planning to further develop and popularize the tools and techniques for the fight against fake news (pieces of training, courses, games, interactive quizzes), and all of that in order to raise the level of media literacy and critical thinking of our citizens.

MEDIA LITERACY IS TAUGHT IN FINLAND SINCE KINDERGARTEN

DFC: Neither Montenegro nor Croatia have an excellent score on the Media Literacy Index scale. What are the reasons for this, according to you, and how could we change that situation?

Lordan PRELOG:  Media literacy in Croatia, as well as in the majority of the EU countries, is not developed enough and it is the capability for critical thinking that is considered the key factor in the process of determining the truthfulness of the information. According to the Media Literacy Index (the 2019 Media Literacy Index, Open Institute Sofia), Croatia is the 25th out of 35 European states. Our position is even worse than the position of Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Malta, or Cyprus.

Lack of trust in the scientists and journalists is connected with media literacy since it turned out that the countries with a higher level of distrust had lower media literacy score.

There is no media literacy in the school curriculum in Croatia, while in Finland, media literacy is taught since kindergarten. Therefore, we have to motivate younger generations to learn how to think critically when evaluating particular content, so that they could discern a truth from a lie. On the other hand, journalists should report truthfully and with the highest professional standards.

DFC: All pieces of research demonstrate that disinformation and fake news are usually published on the internet (social media, news portals). These phenomena have particularly escalated during the pandemic. How to fight the negative effects, which have already had enormous consequences?

Lordan PRELOG: I can only repeat what the experts have been repeating for years – there is no universal solution, no so-called silver bullet concept. According to the recent report of the University of Baltimore, material damage for 2019 caused by direct and indirect consequences of disinformation in the world was estimated at 78 billion dollars!

There is a saying that goes something like: A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth can put on its shoes. As a rule, disinformation generates much greater reach than the regular news. False press releases, disinformation, and fake news on social media represent a growing threat due to the speed of spreading and reach and they have a significant influence on the brand’s strength, reduce productivity, and/or cause financial damage to individuals, companies, and institutions.

According to the recent report of the University of Baltimore, material damage in 2019 in the world, caused by direct and indirect consequences of disinformation, was estimated at 78 billion dollars!

There are particular individuals and organized groups engaged in the production of fake content only to gain profit from the clicks. A well-known example is the case of the North Macedonian town of Veles where young people skilled in technology and social media opened web pages where they posted disinformation on Hillary Clinton, Trump’s opponent back then.

LAWS ARE IMPORTANT BUT NOT ESSENTIAL

DFC: During the parliamentary election, Montenegro has been exposed to an unprecedented disinformation campaign and fake news was almost always published by the same media. What is the best model to fight these organized activities – sanctions based on the laws, the joint action of fact-checkers, or something else?

Lordan PRELOG: It is necessary to simultaneously work on a couple of fronts; education is just a part of the story. For example, it is great news that artificial intelligence is more and more used in the fight against online disinformation since it is becoming particularly efficient in recognition of suspicious network content. The fact-checkers are contributing a lot to the fight, but to check and assess the truthfulness of some piece of news does not represent a solution to the problem.

Personally, I am not a supporter of some explicit legal regulation since in that case, a country signs some legal framework that usually leads to (auto)censoring. However, the legal regulation must exist, especially in case of the systematic launching of disinformation by the same actors who obviously do it with purpose and by established agenda. If you drain someone’s bank account, they will think twice whether they should publish an unverified or made-up piece of information.

In the fight against fake news, there is no simple solution. It is necessary to work on education and the development of critical thinking among citizens. Trust in media and state institutions can be regained by performing professional and ethical journalism and through the development of media literacy of all members of society, starting from the youngest.

DFC: You have a longtime journalist experience. In practice, has it ever occurred to you to publish disinformation or fake news? To what extent has your work in journalism been the impetus to establish this Museum?

Lordan PRELOG: I have been working in Jutarnji list from 2001 to 2008 and those were different times. Not that my job at the time was an impetus, but I felt on my skin the importance of ethical behavior in journalism as well as the basic professional postulates. As a young journalist, I would sometimes add on the statement so that a text would become more interesting and juicy. Those were never crucial information but a couple of times I have inserted my own words or observations instead of those that my interlocutors used. I realized very soon that it is considered bad practice. I think that the majority of the colleagues launched a piece of disinformation unintentionally, due to speed or out of error. But in the majority of such situations, it was unintentional. Today we see that this is not the case, disinformation is being launched in the media in order to harm someone or cause material damage.

Over the last months, we have been witnessing a real political reality show happening in Montenegro’s public scene. However, this new reality is not typical for Montenegro only; we see similar things going on in the region, Europe, and the U.S.

Therefore, the new DFC Magazine issue brings the verbal bot war on Twitter, disinformation, media coverage, conspiracy theories, and other phenomena from the field of our work that have shaped, or at least tried to shape, the social and political scene and the public opinion in Montenegro and beyond.

Download the PDF version by clicking on the link or the photo below.

Thank you for reading us!

The Digital Forensic Center has a pleasure to publish our annual publication, representing an overview of the second year of the DFC’s work.

Read more about disinformation, fake news and conspiracy theories that we discovered during last 12 months. They usually refer to the events which marked the previous period, such as the Law onf Freedom of Religion of Belief, coronavirus pandemic and 2020 elections in Montenegro.

Thank you for your confidence in the previous year! Read us in the upcoming period.

Click here or on the photo below to download the publication.