GLANCE AT TURKEY

Let us take a look at a country that is in varity of economic, political and cultural ways connected to Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as to other Balkan countries. 

Did you know that Turkey is one of the largest jailors of journalists, competing with China, Egypt and Saudi Arabia? Clearly, something is going on in country´s media world. 

According to Reuters Digital News Reports, trust in news overall in 2020 was 55%, which was pretty high, similar to other countries. However, there is still a worrying fact that whooping 49% say that they encountered fake news in the week prior to survey1. If we compare the statistics to Germany´s 9%2, we can envision the volume of the problem. Turkish media became a pool of news, whose large portion is reserved for fake ones. People rightfully complain about the issue, finding it difficult to distinguish between made-up stories and vive reality. 

Exploring their levels of suspicion, there is correlation found between type of media channel and mistrust. Research „Medya Kullanımı ve Haber Tüketimi“ recorded less mistrust in consumption of TV and printed news. On the other hand, people tend to be more suspicios when getting in touch with internet news. This may explain why most people across the country show a tendation toward TV news, although citizens of urban areas use internet more.

In further exploration of mistrust toward news by Turkish population, the research showed that individuals who reported to follow politics, culture or science news doubt the validity and truthfullness of the news more than individuals who said to follow other topics. 

To complete the overall picture about fake news affairs in Turkey, let us go back to journalist prisoners. Political parties are believed to have control over media, creating pro-government channels that, according to Reuters Digitial News Reports, tend to be trusted less but more loyally by those who do have trust. 

Clearly, people feel a need for better and independent media system that will serve society truthfully as well as for education that will help people to distinguish between fake and real news. In strive for resolving the issue, there is Teyit.org, a positive example of contribution to eliminating harmful lies and to increasing awareness in media. Functioning as a website, Teyit.org debunked hundreds of fake stories and reports to recieve more than 30 suspicious news a day to check3. Besides, Teyit.org works on educating public on recognizing fake news.

As SLAM, we share opinion of Teyit.org´s founder, young journalist, Mehmet Atakan Foca: „To tackle the problem of fake news, it´s not enough to publish articles about misinformation.

We want to educate people and give them the tools to strengthen their capacity for verification.“

In the end, let us look at some of most brutal and banal fake news publish by Turkish media.

„The rocket fired by Germans will hit the USA.“4

„Thousands of people are continuously being slaughtered in Myanmar´s state Arakan. Those who stay silent about crimes against humanity become partners in crime.“5

„Raped Crocodile in Zoo. First put to sleep. Having tied its limbs…“6

1Mark Lowen, “Fake news in Turkey: Hunting for truth in land of conspiracy“, BBC News, https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.bbc.com/news/amp/world-europe-46137139 (accessed 21 March 2021) 

2Ibid., https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.bbc.com/news/amp/world-europe-46137139 (accessed 21 March 2021)

3Ibid., https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.bbc.com/news/amp/world-europe-46137139 (accessed 21 March 2021)

4Serdar, “Uydurma Haberler ve Medyada Sazan Avı“, Yalansavar, https://yalansavar.org/2017/04/05/uydurma-haberler-ve-medyada-sazan-avi/ (accessed 21 March 2021)

5Mark Lowen, “Türkiye'de sahte haberler: Komplo teorilerinin gezdiği topraklarda doğrunun avı“, BBC News Turkey, https://www.bbc.com/turkce/haberler-turkiye-46221257 (accessed 21 March 2021)

6Selim Gerçeker, “2017’de Viral Olmuş Ve Gerçekliğine Birçok İnsanı İnandırmış 17 Yanlış Haber“, Listelist, https://www.google.com/amp/s/listelist.com/viral-yanis-haberler/amp/ (accessed 21 March 2021)

Author: Ajna Veladžić 

Roma people in the eyes of media during the migrant crisis

Anti-Roma racism, anti-Gypsyism, anti-Romaism, Romaphobia… – why do our neighbors bother us? Why do we have prejudices against diversity and dissimilarity? Isn’t that considered to be wealth and beauty?

The Romani people, in most countries that are members of the SLAM project, are the largest national minority, but this position and status in society have not given them any honors and privileges. Instead, the conditions in which they live are, to put it mildly, catastrophic. The latest research by the Team for Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction of the Government of the Republic of Serbia is proof of this statement: 32,000 Roma do not have access to proper water, then 24,000 of them do not have electricity, and 93,000 Roma do not have sewerage. However, this is not the end of the problems they are facing. Romani people do not have access to health and social services, employment, education… The coronavirus pandemic has further aggravated all these problems. During the mentioned pandemic, experts advise us to keep a social distance, but that distance is always and everywhere present towards the Roma, especially during the crisis. According to the research, a large number of the population shows a moderate to high level of social distance towards Roma.

We are witnessing the ghettoization of the Roma population. The media contributes greatly to this. Roma are instrumentalized in accordance with the daily political desires of the government. The government's discourse is accepted, especially when it comes to Roma and migrants. Roma asylum seekers are often considered to be “fake” by political representatives and the media. One can also hear in the media that the Roma themselves are to blame for their poverty and poor living conditions because that is their tradition.

If we compare the writing of media and their coverage of Roma and migrants, this could be summarized as follows. Since the beginning of the migrant crisis, the media have had different criteria for Roma and Migrants. While migrant camps are visited almost on a daily basis and articles about that population are written with a certain amount of empathy and understanding in order to solve this issue, reporting on Roma is quite the opposite. The Roma are interesting to the media only on exceptional occasions, when some international days related to the Roma are celebrated, but even then there are numerous stereotypes and prejudices. The social maladaptation of Roma to the environment in which they live is almost always mentioned. The executive director of the Roma Information Center “Kali Sara”, Sanela Bešić, believes that the attitude of the media towards Roma and their communities is a mirror of the politicians’ attitude, but also the attitude of the entire society and its laws.

Both migrants and Roma appear in the fake news – as separate groups, but also together. It is often the case that Roma present themselves as migrants and beg. We are also witnessing migrants being accused of criminal acts, murders and similar things, but in fact these acts are committed by Roma. Fake news and hate speech against migrants are also present on social networks, and among them the leader is Facebook group “Movement STOP settlement of migrants” that was created on March 25, 2020 and has over 300.000 members, according to Voice journalists. The most drastic examples are calls to kill and expel migrants. Disparaging and stereotyping of that population is second in frequency. Some of the headlines that link migrants to criminal activities are: “Father of a young man attacked in Sarajevo: Migrants broke his skull, the operation lasted 3 and a half hours.”,  “A boy was intercepted at the train station, MIGRANTS ARE SUSPECTED.” , “THREE HOURS OPERATED IN HOSPITAL: Migrants brutally beat a minor in Sarajevo.” The media serve fake news, hate speech and generalization, and the institutions do not prevent this, nor the racist messages that can be found in the comments on the articles. 

Migrants, as well as the Roma national minority, are still associated with criminal acts, violence, and security breaches. Some Kosovo media falsely reported that a Roma girl kidnapped children, which led to the girl being physically assaulted twice. Is it fair, okay, human to believe in hear-say stories and false rumors, and create prejudices? The critical consciousness of the wider masses is not sufficiently developed. We blindly trust the media, which are increasingly using clickbait and false statements, and which are categorized as a crime act, rather than accurate and verified information.

However, this is not the only example of an attack on Romani population. Protests and violence against Roma, as well as various intimidations, are present in many countries. Italian authorities intend to expel all Roma who do not have Italian citizenship. In addition, the demolition of Roma camps without the provision of replacement accommodation has become increasingly common in Italy.

When it comes to Bosnia and Herzegovina, small steps have been taken to protect Roma rights, but this is still “not in bloom”. The phrases “I will give you to the gypsies” and “The gypsy woman will steal you” can often be heard among people. Those sentences are derogatory, discriminatory and unpleasant to hear. The report on the position of Roma in B&H showed that the state does not provide enough basic rights for Roma. Crimes committed out of hatred against Roma are not uncommon and the lack of an appropriate response from the authorities can create a climate of impunity and deepen the experience of marginalization. If we want to comment on crimes committed by Roma – there are no statistics for Roma in the registers of crimes and misdemeanors, and it is not possible to determine whether the assumption that Roma have a high degree of violation of the law is really correct and trustworthy.

Through direct normative influence, the media influence the creation of prejudices, but also their augmentation. Minority groups in the media are portrayed through negative bias both qualitatively and quantitatively. Why is it like that? The answer is simple – the media are market-oriented towards the majority, the dominant group, because of the political and economic power that the group possesses. In the last few years, Roma have been marginally present in the media space, while a significant percentage of attention has been paid to migrants. Media writing is stereotypical for both categories and depends on daily politics, which uses media to create public opinion about migrants and pushes Roma to the margins of society. We are increasingly witnessing “sensational” reporting by the media that transmit the information served without their analysis, verification, without initiative and research approach.

Every event in which the actors are members of the Roma minority points to the fact that the media have double criteria: one for the Roma and the other for the rest. It is certain that triviality, sensation and extreme superficiality in the approach to the treatment of topics in the media today, have sponsored that topics about the Roma and their lives are treated without any empathy and will to influence the much-needed changes. Emphasis is placed on peripheral details, not on the essence. This does not help anyone, and it harms the Roma community the most, about which prejudices are only further created and strengthened. And as a conclusion to all of the above, it would be the following: Roma are collateral damage to political action as a whole.

 

 

Author: Ajla Aljović 

Press Freedom Index – Analyzing the Data

Being a journalist

Journalist job is very dynamic and, in some cases, even dangerous. To be a journalist, one needs to have excellent analytical abilities and distinguish truth from lies. In everyday work, journalists face various disinformation and hate speech, which can be a significant obstacle in delivering the correct information to the audience. In today's society, with the uprising of the internet and social media, a journalist's job is not easy at all. Although someone could say that the internet and social media platforms gave journalists extensive freedom to express their opinion freely – that is not true in all cases. Journalists have more options to place their information on various platforms than in the days of “old media.” Still, there are also more censure and fake news circulating in the public space.

Nowadays, journalists are being threatened, and their freedom of speech is under attack. In some parts of the world, the media environment is much better compared to other ones. For example, according to the Reporters Without Borders Index, Press Freedom is the highest in Scandinavian countries, where Norway is in the first place, followed by Finland and Denmark. On the other hand, authoritarian government regimes, such as those in Saudi Arabia, China, or North Korea, affect press freedom heavily, placing those countries at the same bottom of the list.

Western Balkan and the Press Freedom

Analyzing this topic, it is interesting to observe the Western Balkan region. Also, we will take a look at Italy, Bulgaria, and Turkey for a more detailed analysis. Balkan, as the turbulent region near the heart of Europe, always had its uprisings and downturns. Compared to the Press Freedom Index in other Western European countries, the Balkan region lacks behind. The highest press freedom rank has the Bosnia and Herzegovina, placed on 58 positions, followed by Kosovo (70), Albania (84), North Macedonia (92), Serbia (93) and Montenegro (105). If we include Turkey in our analysis, the situation will only deteriorate because Turkey's position (154) is far worse than the countries mentioned above. Interestingly, Bulgaria, an EU member country, is placed very low on the 111th position. On the other hand, Italy has much better results, being in the 41st position.

What are the reasons for such a situation?

There are many reasons responsible for the low press freedom environment in the Balkans. The Balkan countries are in some unfinished transition when one step forward could mean two steps backwards. However, some common patterns can be traced. According to Reporters Without Borders, division along ethnic lines and constant nationalist rhetoric is present in Bosnia and Kosovo. Lack of transparency and terrible working conditions for journalists makes them vulnerable and unprotected from various political agendas that control the media. Serbia with Albania encountered fall by 3 and 2 positions respectively compared to 2019, which sends some message to us. A significant and influential state control raises many concerns making Serbia criticized by the EU authorities. Journalists are not protected enough and often attacked. Some parallels can be drawn with the situation in Albania, as well.

In many cases, the Albanian government tried to control the media with the argument of trying to mitigate fake news, which was their alibi to create laws and regulations against press freedom. In North Macedonia, some steps forward were made, but the overall situation is not good. Cyber and verbal attack over the journalist remains a big issue. But, although there are severe obstacles for higher Press Freedom scores in the Balkans, what can we say for Bulgaria? Reporters Without Borders

Analysis argues that the Bulgarian journalism environment is faced with severe drawbacks such as corruption, political oligarchy and a complete lack of transparency. Although an EU member country, Bulgaria will need to work hard to compete with other European countries. Italy, also and EU member country showed a much better score than Bulgaria. That is not a surprise because although with some far-right party uprising, Italy was the heart of European cultural renewal after the Middle Ages. The old spirit of those times has not vanished. Besides, the situation in Turkey is not good. The authoritarian regime in Turkey cannot state arguments in its favor. Discrimination and attack towards the LGBTIQ+ community, too much religious emphasis, and numerous journalists imprisoned threaten to burry democratic tenets and direct Turkey into an authoritarian state.

Press Freedom and Fake News

It is not too hard to make a connection between the low press freedom index, and the fast spread of fake news. In areas where press freedom is under attack spreading of fake news is significantly more present. Balkan is the perfect example of such a phenomenon. Covid-19 pandemic just deteriorated the situation and enabled so-called experts to be louder and more eager in spreading their “truth“. According to the leading fact-checker website in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Raskrinkavanje.ba) during the last year, fake news spread exploded and reached its peak compared to the period before. Sensational titles and articles with ad-sense plug-ins can make a lot of money if people often click on them, and that wisdom people from the Balkans uncovered recently. For example, in Serbia, health officials, has spoken nonsense about the pandemic advising people to go shopping in Italy at the beginning of the pandemic. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, people get advice to go to the mountains and woods, take fresh air because that helps in fight against the virus. That was only the beginning. According to Raskrinkavanje.ba, posts about artificial virus made in some laboratories in China, Bill Gates responsibility for the pandemic and various conspiracy theories started to get media attention because people started to believe in it. the BBC also stated that Italy faced a fake news uprising and that such a problem appeared in Turkey and Bulgaria, as well. Therefore, a global crisis can enhance fake news spread and boost disinformation rapidly. In a globally connected world, citizens should educate themself and be well informed, because sometimes consequences can be harmful. Especially if someone advises you to take unknown pills or medics, which are not approved, by health officials and regulatory bodies. Sadly, that proved to be a case in the Covid-19 pandemic.

What to expect in the future?

The future of a journalist job in some aspects is very uncertain. Society as a whole must be proactive and express their willingness to be on the side of the journalist. Gill Phillips, writing for the Guardian, presents examples of widespread brutality to a journalist, from Mexico to Saudi Arabia and Europe. Balkan countries need to foster their democratic processes, increase transparency, fight against corruption if they aim to join the European Union. Such an approach is essential for journalists to gain more rights and freedom and better working conditions. Speaking about fake news, fact-checkers sites started to gain more visibility and to be the first step which somebody can make to see if some news are truth or lies. Therefore, everyone should try to find the fact-checkers site in their home country and be properly informed.

 

Author: Omer Muminović

Donald Trump – Fake news, is there any truth?

The most dangerous lie: The coronavirus was under control

This was more like a family of lies than a single lie. But each one — the lie that the virus was equivalent to the flu; the lie that the situation was “totally under control”; the lie that the virus was “disappearing” — suggested to Americans that they didn't have to change much about their usual behavior. A year into the crisis, more than 386,000 Americans have died from the virus. We can't precisely say how the crisis would have unfolded differently if Trump had been more truthful. But it's reasonable to venture that his dishonesty led to a significant number of deaths1.

 

Manufacturing jobs

Trump falsely claimed that they “added nearly 600,000 manufacturing jobs.” This would have been an exaggeration even if you stopped the clock in February. (At that point, before the pandemic-related crash in March, nearly 483,000 manufacturing jobs had been added during the Trump presidency.) But now, the claim is flat wrong. As of September, around 164,000 manufacturing jobs had been lost since Trump took office.

Another Trump's false statement is related to Barack Obama and “his statement” that “you'll never produce manufacturing jobs.” That's not what Obama said. At a 2016 town hall event2, Obama did say that some manufacturing jobs went away from the US for good — but he also boasted about how many new ones were being created in the US.

 

NATO

Another category of false claims said by Trump is related to NATO.

He claimed that he was responsible for securing an extra “$130 billion a year” in military spending by other countries. Actually, NATO says the increase is $130 billion total between 2016 and the end of 2020, not $130 billion per year. (NATO does give Trump credit for the increase, but it's worth noting that spending has been rising since 2015, before Trump took office.)

Trump said that before him, NATO members “weren't paying their bills” and “were delinquent.” That's not how NATO works. While the alliance has a target of each member spending 2% of GDP on defense, failing to hit that target doesn't create bills or debts3.

Trump claimed that “Obama used to send them pillows.” This appeared to be Trump's usual reference to Obama's military aid to Ukraine, not about contributions to NATO itself — but it's inaccurate regardless. Obama did decline to send Ukraine lethal aid, but he sent armored Humvees, counter-mortar radar, night vision equipment, drones, and other military supplies.

 

Veterans’ Choice

Trump repeated another of his favorite rally lies, declaring that they have “passed VA Choice.” Obama signed the Choice bill into law in 20144; it was an initiative of two senators Trump has frequently criticized, Bernie Sanders and the late John McCain. What Trump signed was the VA MISSION Act of 2018, which expanded and modified the Choice program.

Trump has made this claim more than 160 times.

 

The most alarming lie saga: Sharpiegate

In 2019, Trum tweeted that Alabama was one of the states at greater risk from Hurricane Dorian than had been initially forecast. The federal weather office in Birmingham then tweeted that, actually, Alabama would be unaffected by the storm.

Not great, but fixable fast with a simple White House correction. Trump, however, is so congenitally unwilling to admit error that he embarked on an increasingly farcical campaign to prove that his incorrect Alabama tweet was actually correct, eventually showcasing a hurricane map that was crudely altered with a Sharpie.

The slapstick might have been funny had White House officials not leaped into action behind the scenes to try to pressure federal weather experts into saying he was right and they were wrong5. The saga proved that Trump was not some lone liar: he was backed by an entire powerful apparatus willing to fight for his fabrications.

 

The ugliest smear lie: Rep. Ilhan Omar supports al Qaeda

At a White House event in 2019, Trump grossly distorted a 2013 quote from Rep. Ilhan Omar to try to get his supporters to believe that the Minnesota Democrat had expressed support for the terrorist group al Qaeda6.

Trump went on to deliver additional bigoted attacks against Omar in the following months. But it's hard to imagine a more vile lie for the President to tell about a Muslim official — who had already been getting death threats — than a smear that makes her sound pro-terrorist.

1Sam Baker, “Trump: Coronavirus is “under control””, AXIOS, https://www.axios.com/trump-coronavirus-under-control-5f114a16-9952-428c-bc07-3cfa360b0977.html (accessed 21 March 2021)

2“Questions for President Obama: A Town Hall Special“, PBS, https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/questions-for-president-obama-a-town-hall-special (accessed 21 March 2021)

3Glenn Kessler, “Trump’s NATO parade of falsehoods and misstatements“, Thee Washington Post, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/12/10/trumps-nato-parade-false-facts-misstatements/ (accessed 21 March 2021)

4Cameron Brenchley, “President Obama Signs Bill to Give the VA the Resources It Needs“, The WHITE HOUSE President Barack Obama, https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/blog/2014/08/07/president-obama-signs-bill-give-va-resources-it-needs (accessed 21 March 2021)

5Christopher Flavelle and Lisa Friedman, “NOAA Officials Feared Firings After Trump’s Hurricane Claims, Inspector General Says“, The New York Times, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/09/climate/trump-hurricane-dorian-noaa.html (accessed 21 March 2021)

6Daniel Dale and Sarah Westwood, “Fact check: Trump falsely accuses Ilhan Omar of praising al Qaeda“, CNN politics, https://edition.cnn.com/2019/07/15/politics/trump-falsely-accuses-omar-al-qaeda-fact-check/index.html (accessed 21 March 2021)

 

 

Author: Imran Polovina 

 

Fake News Detection Flyer

One of the most overwhelming issues in today's society is the lack of reliable information. There are many of those who work on spreading false information in order to benefit themselves, but harm others in the process. This phenomenon is commonly refered to as “Fake News”.

SLAM presents this “Fake News Detection Flyer” as a tool for everyone to learn how to keep harmful fake news at a distance.

Did you know?

 

An MIT study found that false stories were 70% more likely to get retweeted on Twitter in comparison to accurate ones. 44% of people admit to being deceived by fake news at least once. (IPSOS Global Survey 2019). With over 1.8 billion active users per month in 2016, Facebook accounted for 20% of total traffic to reliable websites and up to 50% of all the traffic to fake news sites.

 

Facts:

The occurrence of fake news has become a major problem with online news sources. A distinction amongst three types of fake news can be made on a conceptual level: serious fabrications, hoaxes, and satire. Serious fabrications are usually news items written on false information, including celebrity gossip. Hoaxes refer to false information provided via social media, often syndicated by traditional news platforms. As for satire, it refers to using humour in the news to imitate real news, but through irony and absurdity.

 

Research has shown that people’s confidence in their ability to find information online made them overly confident about whether that information is accurate. In the other case, it was shown that dogmatism and religious fundamentalism, which led people to believe certain fake news, were associated with a lack of a critical and questioning mindset. It is important to note that not all news and information published by unofficial news sources is necessarily false. However, many unofficial sources have been extensively reported as unreliable by well-known debunking sites.

 

There are also certain psychological phenomena that hinder our ability to decode fake news. We will mention some of them below.

 

People are usually inclined to make conclusions about the truthfulness of things they hear, based on how familiar those things sound. This means that the more familiar something seems to an individual, the more inclined they are to believe it without checking the legitimacy of the source from which the information came from. Some individuals are likely to conclude that something is true just because it does not fit their expectations of how imaginative the provider of information can get in inventing a piece of news.

 

It is a normal occurrence to question the motivation that lies in spreading fake news. Reasons for such a practice can be different, but most often have something to do with gaining easy advertisement. The type of advertisement related to the spreading of fake news is commonly called “clickbait” and examples of this are numerous. One of the examples is “Seventeen celebrities that have had botched plastic surgery… You won’t believe number 11.” Titles like this are strictly focused on advertisement and have no real value as actual news.

 

Another thing involved in believability to be aware of is the availability heuristic. Things that are easily brought to the forefront of memory are given special status (Tversky and Kahneman 1974).

 

The process of drawing conclusions regarding pieces of information, in a way that is similar to an individual’s personal set of beliefs is called confirmation bias. People are more likely to believe facts if their belief system is reinforced by said facts. Psychologically speaking, this is a heuristic by which agreement of articles with one’s own personal opinion reinforces faith in its truthfulness, while disagreement causes doubt in how true the article is.

 

Becoming aware of these tactics utilized by those who spread fake news, is instrumental in recognizing them, especially due to the fact that fake news is created to be complementary to people’s beliefs and feel like they are factual.

 

Author: BRAVO team

 

Migrant's Image in Bosnian – Herzegovinian Media

Due to many years of conflicts and wars in the Middle East, a large number of residents from the countries of that area are trying to find their refuge on European soil. Since 2018, Bosnia and Herzegovina has been facing a large influx of migrants, who enter in our country often illegally. Since then, local media have become more actively involved in reporting on this population.

Since the beginning of the migrant crisis in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the media, in most cases, have used the term migrants for these people. With the widespread xenophobia in our society, it seems that the media do not contribute to calming the situation, when it comes to the migrant crisis, and newspaper articles are written with the intention of attracting as many readers as possible, without checking information about the certain events. Media with more empathy for this group of people make a distinction between different groups, and use names like people on the move and refugees, although their number is very small.

According to international and laws in Bosnia and Herzegovina, a refugee is any foreigner who has fled the country of origin due to war or fear of persecution, while a migrant is any person who has left the country of origin, usually for economic reasons. An analysis of the most – read media in Bosnia and Herzegovina shows that very few of them have written about this difference, trying to explain to the public the difference between the two terms. Some of them are N1, Anadolu Agency – Bosnian service, VOA in Bosnian and BUKA. Further, it seems that in Bosnia and Herzegovina the least mentioned group in the media are asylum seekers, the people who have applied for asylum in our country, whereby they can receive one of the two forms of international protection (refugee status or subsidiary protection).

All these groups in the Bosnian-Herzegovinian media are mostly called migrants, and the articles about them are usually full of negative news. Some of them have the following titles: “Migrants who committed an armed robbery in Zenica caught in Donji Vakuf”, “Details of the horrific crime near Tešanj: Migrant stabbed with knife in the head”, “A migrant, accused of rape and infected with HIV, has escaped”, etc. By the number of news that speak negatively about this population, the site by name antimigrant.ba is in the forefront, using very often pejoratives in its articles, such as brothers in faith, lovers of people on the move1 , brothers from ISIS, ”miserable” muhajirs2, etc., which makes readers to feel more disdain toward migrants.

Most of the sources used by the Bosnian media in reporting on migrants are unreliable and are often based on eyewitness comments, when it comes to committing crimes, without waiting for an official report from the authorities. Media that are better equipped and have a larger structure and coverage are often sources of smaller media with regional character, although neither of them shows serious attention for fact-checking. The most famous case of false news-spreading is related to the murder of a young man from Ilidža, where a migrant of Moroccan origin was accused of that crime. Shortly afterwards, news of the event have been spread through media portals, with a prominent image of the first defendant. A few days later, the police arrested a person who matched the description, although it turned out shortly afterwards that he was not a murderer, but a Moroccan with a similar appearance. However, this did not stop the Bosnian media from reporting on the latter as a murderer, without waiting for confirmation of identity by the competent authorities.

Finally, it should be emphasized that most media write and act according to the directives of their governing structures, which are often different political parties. Depending on their attitude towards the migrant issue, the tone of media reporting is also directed (e.g. RTRS, Bljesak.info, STAV Magazine, etc.).

 

1 referring to the people who are helping them
2 Muhajirs is Arabic term for migrants.

 

Author: Dragan Zelenović

Position of migrant woman

A few days ago, we celebrated International Women's Day. Only one day a year when we remember the fight for women's rights, the long and uninterrupted fight of women around the world for an equal position in the family, society, at work, in educational institutions, on the street. This day is very important for the realization of basic human rights, especially the right to work and dignified working conditions, the exercise of electoral rights and the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women.
All powerful people, government officials, presidents, philanthropists have fulfilled their duty and sent strong messages of support to women, pointing out their role in society. To be strong, brave, to fight for our rights. That we need to be educated, to be eloquent, ambitious, etc… How nice it sounds. Democratic. But is that really so?
What about those women who are fighting for minimum existential rights, such as the right to housing, food, clothing and footwear, the right to health care? Not to mention rights such as the prohibition of torture, the prohibition of slavery, the prohibition of discrimination.

Perhaps the more realistic question is whether they have the right to fight and what mechanisms of fight are available to them, given the handful of laws, regulations and conventions that are just a dead letter on paper?

Who are they? What are their rights? What are their needs for a life worthy of a man and why are they on the margins?

We can say that the year 2020 was very difficult and ruthless for the whole world, and it brought more problems to migrants in Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) and other countries – from spreading fake news on social networks, media harassment, border violence, intimidation and persecution, social exclusion to the marginalization of the most vulnerable categories.

Particularly vulnerable groups in the migrant population are women, who are often abused by dealers and smugglers. Due to insecurity, the unfavorable political situation in the country and poverty, thousands of them have fled their homes in search of asylum. Exposed to various problems such as worries about the continuation of the journey, pressure to preserve their families, even violence, they are increasingly experiencing a drop in mood, lethargy, stress, which contributes to increased depressive symptoms and trauma. Just some of the risks they face in their path to a better life and security are the danger of human trafficking, sexual harassment, exploitation, violence, harassment while traveling, which are greatly facilitated by legal invisibility – lack of identification documents and inability to exercise rights, language barriers and ignorance of the culture of the countries they pass through.

Women and girls face additional vulnerabilities when displaced by conflict. An inadequate and dysfunctional protection system allows perpetrators to abuse with impunity. Lack of shelters, overcrowding in camps with extremely difficult living conditions, poorly lit, unlockable public toilets, common areas without a private sphere increase the risk of gender-based violence, including sexual violence. Where people are forced to live together in a small space, without employment and frustrated, violence grows that often manifests itself in the weaker. And they often remain silent for fear of stigmatization and punishment from their own families, shame, helplessness, and moral condemnation in their own environment.

And even when abuses occur, many migrant women and girls lack the resources, support systems, and knowledge to seek help, as well as language barriers that further facilitate attacks. Behind the attack may be a violent partner, roommate, smuggler and volunteer who imposes and abuses them.Migrant women also face double discrimination – as women and as migrants. Racism and xenophobia appear as direct consequences of large migrations. Xenophobia against non-compatriots, especially towards migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, is one of the main sources of modern racism. And antiimmigrant sentiment is constantly on the rise in many countries.

Negative views of migrants and refugees have become a practice in the media, creating prejudices and stereotypes about them that lead to social exclusion. With biased reporting and sensationalist headlines that mostly have nothing to do with the real situation on the ground, the B&H public is poisoned by a lot of false news and misinformation about refugees and migrants. But of course this is not surprising because we are a nation in which the media builds the opinion and attitude of public opinion. Headlines such as “Refugees and migrants are exclusively men” further aggravate their situation by leaving them invisible and contributing to their further marginalization. It is true that most refugees and migrants are men, but the number of women and children is by no means negligible.

Reports of rape and sexual abuse in refugee accommodation, and during travel, have been almost nonexistent in public. Yet the dark figure is large, although there are no official reports. Many cases have never been recorded, nor will anyone be held accountable. According to information in the Sarajevo area, information on attempted rape and rape of migrant women has been confirmed. The victims stated that while traveling from Turkey to B&H, they were exposed to abuse by migrants, but also by the staff of the camps where they were staying. But they are not ready to talk about it publicly, because of secondary victimization, personal beliefs and partly because of distrust in the protection system. It must be taken into account that these are women who lived in patriarchal environments and who are less educated because they did not have the opportunity to go to school. There are also cases of children who engage in sex for the purpose of survival in order to pay smugglers to continue their journey because they have run out of money or have been robbed.

Insufficient media space, lack of information on the social position of migrant women, and even insufficient institutional commitment to this problem lead to women experiencing discrimination not only on the basis of migrant status, but also on the basis of gender. This is supported by the fact that the media in Bosnia and Herzegovina very rarely publish data on the number of migrant women, and almost never on their needs, which further threatens their social position. The situation is no better when it comes to countries in the region such as Croatia and Serbia. The first available online UN reports on the number of migrant women in Bosnia and Herzegovina will appear only in 2019, and special attention to the number of women, their needs, and programs and assistance to women comes into focus from February 2020. In March 2020, according to the UN monthly report on the migrant situation in B&H, it was determined that the number of new migrants was 4,795, of which 451 were women and girls, which represents 18% of the total number of migrants.

Migrant women also face discrimination in the economic sector, on national, racial and gender grounds, in terms of pay, overtime, opportunities for advancement in work, access to the health and education systems, and they are very often exposed to verbal, physical and sexual harassment, abuse in the workplace.
As another in a series of problems that migrant women still face, there are health risks both in transit and in destinations that are additionally affected by climate change and unsafe travel conditions. A significant number of migrant women are pregnant or become pregnant and may lose access to sexual and reproductive health protection during travel or in the chaos of displacement, which can have serious consequences for their health. It is considered one of the leading causes of death, illness and disability among displaced women and girls of childbearing age.

What has been alarming lately is that a large percentage of refugees suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. A study by the German Federal Chamber of Psychotherapists shows that 70% of refugees have witnessed violence. More than half of them felt it violence on their skin, and 43% of refugees have survived torture, including a large number of women. Access to psychosocial assistance is becoming one of the important links in easier social inclusion in society, adaptation to the new
environment and mitigation of the consequences of the migration process. This availability in B&H is not at an enviable level because it is provided only in some camps due to limited human resources and language barrier, lack of translators.
Although all these problems go far and have their roots in the past, because women in the process of migration throughout history have been discriminated against in a way that they were invisible and unrecognized as participants in migration, even though they made up half of the total number of migrants. Until recently, they were not recognized or protected by conventions, including the Law on Movement and Residence of Aliens and Asylum in B&H. The UN conventions and B&H laws mention the term “migrants and their families” where men are generally understood as migrants and their wives and children, from which it can be concluded that women in theory had only a passive position in the migration process. The United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees also prefers men as refugees when defining the term “refugee”. Given that this notion is not gender sensitive, it can be concluded that the need to protect migrant women was not recognized during the drafting of this convention. This is supported by the fact that the part of the Law on Refugees that refers to nondiscrimination does not state that discrimination on the grounds of sex is prohibited.

From all the above we can conclude that women throughout history have been both de iure and de facto discriminated against as participants in migration, which has had a negative impact on their social position in society, legal protection, access to the labor market, education and health system. Although women currently make up about half of the world's migrant population, as do half of the world's population, this practice continues today. The number of women being affected by violence is immense and growing everyday. According to a WHO report, 1 in 3 women globally experience violence and discrimination. This is not a feminist fight, a fight of women for their rights. This is a fight of all of us because every human being on the planet deserves and has the right to a dignified life. That is our moral obligation. They need us, our support and compassion. Because tommorow it could be you!

What is a paradox is that all three constituent people in B&H experienced temporary or permanent displacement from their place to other parts of B&H or abroad during the last war, so it would be reasonably expected that the B&H population shows compassion and empathy for the plight of migrants. Experience on your own skin should allow for easier identification. But the reality is different, because unfortunately more than 20 years after the war, B&H is still a post-war society. How do we accept others when we cannot accept ourselves?

The migrant crisis has shaken Europe and its values to the core. The European Union revealed all its weaknesses when there was a sudden influx of migrants. The ideas of European humanity, solidarity and openness have been called into question. Has the EU remained stuck between human security and state security?


Author: Natalia Vuković 

Fake news in Turkey: Hunting for truth in land of conspiracy

www.bbc.co.uk/beyondfakenews

A headscarved woman whose baby was kicked while she was urinated on by anti-government demonstrators.

Veteran political activist Noam Chomsky championing President Erdogan in a newspaper interview.

Photos of bloated corpses of Muslims in a river in Myanmar. A video showing Turkish jets blowing up Kurdish fighters in Syria.

All were compelling and widely-shared stories in Turkey. All were completely false.

Turkey is a country where fact and fiction are increasingly hard to distinguish, and where information is weaponised to further divide a profoundly polarised society.

Why Turks are besieged by ‘fake news’

It is little wonder that Turkey ranks first in a list of countries where people complain about completely made-up stories, according to this year's Reuters Digital News Report.

Almost half its people – 49% – say they faced “fake news” in the week before the survey was taken. In Germany, it is just 9%.

Every day brings new outlandish and unverified claims in the media.

This is fodder for a nation addicted to conspiracy theories – where a senior adviser to Mr Erdogan claimed the president's enemies were trying to kill him with telekinesis and that foreign TV chefs were spies.

www.bbc.co.uk/beyondfakenews

Inflammatory rhetoric pervades the media, 90% of which is estimated to be pro-government. That is because opposition outlets have been steadily shut down, branded “terrorist propaganda”, or financially crippled.

Newspapers that survive serve not as models of journalism but as government mouthpieces, which were recently handed the leaks from the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. That led the world to swallow what they printed, rather than treating them with the usual caution.

Turkey is the world's largest jailer of journalists, ranking 157 of 180 countries in the press freedom index of the watchdog Reporters Without Borders.

Just 38% here trust the news, the Reuters study shows.

How a website debunked 500 fake stories

Fertile ground, then, for Turkey's first independent website devoted to fact-checking online material. Teyit.org takes its name from the Turkish word for confirmation.

Founded in 2016 by a young journalist, Mehmet Atakan Foca, its team probes the authenticity of photographs and stories that circulate online.

Foca, who did an internship at the BBC Turkish service, says they now get more than 30 tip-offs a day about suspicious-looking material, and use a variety of core journalistic skills and digital technology to check them.

“To tackle the problem of fake news, it's not enough to publish articles about misinformation,” he says. “We want to educate people and give them the tools to strengthen their capacity for verification.”

Over the past two years, Teyit has debunked 526 false stories. Many are political, using doctored photographs or false social media claims about politicians.

Others have even more serious consequences.

This story is part of a series by the BBC on disinformation and fake news – a global problem challenging the way we share information and perceive the world around us.

For more visit www.bbc.co.uk/beyondfakenews

When photos of three men were published online and labelled as those who killed 39 people in an attack on Istanbul's Reina nightclub, Teyit traced the men and disproved the allegations.

One of the wrongly accused, Metehan Alim, told us a defamation case against six media outlets is ongoing.

“Turks are fundamentalists with our beliefs,” he told the BBC. “We want to read what we already believe. We resist science or facts. We believe in myths instead.”

Some of the stories debunked by Teyit are international.

At the height of the violence in Myanmar against Rohingya Muslims, the Turkish finance minister tweeted photos that allegedly showed victims. Teyit discovered they were from elsewhere.

The Myanmar government formally complained and the minister was forced to delete the tweet.

Even former Ankara mayor Melih Gokcek, notorious for conspiracy theories, retracted a tweet showing a photograph purportedly of flood damage to a road. It had been debunked by Teyit, and he even credited the fact-checking website.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.

How I became a target for fake news?

But I am still waiting for Mr Gokcek to retract his unfounded claim that the BBC rented a hotel room overlooking Besiktas football stadium just before it was attacked by suicide bombers in 2016.

Supposedly, that allowed me to broadcast live within minutes – and suggested that we were complicit or knew of it in advance.https://emp.bbc.com/emp/SMPj/2.39.19/iframe.htmlmedia captionMark Lowen reported on the Besiktas bombing some 90 minutes after the attack

The absurd allegation was disproved by Teyit, showing my first live broadcast from our BBC office 90 minutes after the attack and debunking a video that falsely translated my words.

A composite image shows the research done by Teyit demonstrating that Mark Lowen did not in fact have advance knowledge of the attack
image captionTeyit debunked the Besiktas allegations, showing that the live report came from the BBC office

After four years in Turkey, I'm getting used to such baseless claims.

Pro-government dailies frequently allege I've been sent from London as a provocateur to stir up social unrest.

One needs a thick skin in this country.

Rise of the ‘fake fact-checkers’

“News literacy is very low in Turkey,” says Mehmet Atakan Foca. “It's more about propaganda. People live in an echo chamber, accusing others of being terrorists or pro-government, creating false stories to strengthen their opinions.”

Even fact-checking itself is used as a tool in a country riven by mistrust and division.

One website claims to be an independent verifier of news, but is actually run by a prominent columnist for Sabah, the main pro-government daily, and her husband. Instead of authenticating sources or photographs, it pushes the government line, discrediting perceived criticism of President Erdogan.

“There is no freedom of information in Turkey”, Mr Foca says, “so fake fact-checking websites are used as propaganda.”

“They're another weapon of government”, he adds.

Controlling information, peddling false stories, fuelling the “us and them” narrative: these are all tactics of authoritarian governments.

They are all major challenges for the fact-checkers aiming to go beyond fake news.

Source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-46137139

Source: www.bbc.co.uk/beyondfakenews

#SLAM #BRAVOSLAM #BRAVOBIH #BRAVO #MAKETHEWORLDWONDER

False claim: There have been no deaths in Israel due to COVID-19; drinking sodium bicarbonate and lemon kills the virus

Facebook posts claim that there have been no coronavirus deaths in Israel because Israelis are ingesting a mix of sodium bicarbonate and lemon that kills the virus ( here ). Both claims in these posts are false.

According to Haaretz, there have been 51 COVID-19-related deaths and 8,611 Israelis have tested positive for coronavirus as of April 6 ( here ). Updates can be found on the Israeli health ministry’s website here .

The claim that drinking sodium bicarbonate and lemon as a hot tea kills the virus is also false. As stated by the World Health Organization (WHO), “There is no specific treatment for disease caused by a novel coronavirus.” ( here )

The post falsely claims that sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and lemon “alkalize the immune system,” meaning that they raise the blood’s pH level. According to WebMD, “nothing you eat is going to substantially change the pH of your blood. Your body works to keep that level constant.” ( here )

The Reuters Fact Check team has already debunked the claim that lemon juice and sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) prevents infection from the new coronavirus here .

VERDICT

False: Israelis have died of COVID-19, and sodium bicarbonate and lemon does not prevent infection

 

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact checking work  here .

 

www.reuters.com

Tirana

Tirana, the heart and capital of Albania, like all other European metropolises has never-ending movement and energy. With its clubs, bars, cafes, and taverns, Tirana is worth discovering by both day and night. The hospitality shown towards tourists is something that will mark your journey not only in Tirana but also all over the country. There are different thoughts regarding the origin of the name of the city. Some think that it relates to Tyrrenia (a name of Etruscan origins), while other believe that it relates to the word Theranda (harvest), or to the Tirkan (a castle at the foot of Mount Dajti).

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Your own journey might begin by visiting the museums and the key spots such as Sheshi Skanderbeg, where you will be able to see the Mosque of Ethem Bey (built between 1798 and 1812) and the 35 m high Kulla e Sahatit (the Watch Tower), built in 1822 with a San Marco style cupola. Next, you can visit the famous mosaic uncovered on the floor of an old Roman lodge. Its center configures the walls of the castle of the Roman emperor Justinian (A.D. 520). The monumental Tomb of Kapllan Pasha and the Ura e Tabakave (a bridge constructed in the beginning of the 19th century, located on Bulevardi Zhan DArk) are also worth visiting. As a capital, Tirana has the countrys finest museums, theatres, and galleries representing the national arts. A visit to the National History Museum, the Archeological Museum, the Natural Science Museum, the private Mezuraj Museum, and the National Gallery of the Arts will leave wonderful memories. You can also pass a pleasant evening in the National Theatre or the Opera and Ballet Theatre. For dining, Tirana offers both a rich traditional cuisine and a variety of foreign fares, from Italian to Chinese, or even Indian. There are also several clubs and restaurants on Mount Dajti to discover and enjoy. The mountain is reachable by cable car, which provides a fantastic view of the city. In the Tirana region you may also visit the castles of Petrela and Preza, as well as some natural attractions, such as Pellumbas Cave, Shkalla e Tujanit, and more.