On October 25, the Center for Civic Education (CCE) presented the results of research conducted in cooperation with the Damar agency as part of the joint CG Pulse initiative. Numerous Montenegrin media published the results of public opinion polls that showed the opinion of citizens on the path that Montenegro is taking after the change of Government, on the introduction of religious education in schools, as well as several other important topics.
The research showed that young people, Montenegrins, Albanians, Bosniaks, and Croats express strong dissatisfaction with the situation Montenegrin society found itself in, while the citizens who declare themselves as Serbs by nationality and those with a lower level of education are more optimistic that Montenegro is going in the right direction. These data were used by Novosti and distorted in favor of the narrative that Serbs in Montenegro are endangered and that anti-Serbian policy is being pursued in Montenegro.
Polls in which public opinion on important socio-political topics have been analyzed are sensitive, and the results are subject to manipulation by the media or even certain politicians and activists. This was exactly the case with this research. Namely, the Serbian portal Novosti published an article titled POLL AGAINST SERBS: Background of the public opinion poll carried out by the Montenegrin non-governmental organization CCE.
The article on the Novosti portal, which was later corrected and denied, states that the results of the research are just another in a series of attempts to discredit the Serbian people in Montenegro and that this is a new chauvinistic farce. In order to give importance to this narrative and manipulations, the statements of Petar Draskovic from the Democratic Front and political analyst Igor Damjanovic are also comprised in the text. Draskovic pointed out that Daliborka Uljarevic, the executive director of the CCE, who also presented the research, belongs to the anti-Serbian group aimed at destroying the Serbian Orthodox character of Montenegro, while Damjanovic said that the public was prepared to constitute a new parliamentary majority.
The Novosti portal probably found an additional reason for such reporting in the statement of the Democratic Front MP and President of the Administrative Board of the Parliament of Montenegro Milun Zogovic, who stated that Ms. Daliborka Uljarevic violated all principles and could not hide and channel hatred towards the Serbian people.
The research data are publicly available, so it is very easy to check these unfounded writings that aim to further divide Montenegrin society and cause tensions. The fact that Novosti is in the group of the most read Serbian portals in Montenegro is worrying. It enables such biased and false reporting to reach as many citizens as possible. For the sake of political goals, disinformation was placed along with targeting the organizations and individuals.
This is not the first time that the information and results of public opinion polls have been manipulated, which the DFC team has warned about several times so far.