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IREX: A fake news article is shared 927 times on average in Serbia

May 24, 2020

A fake news article is shared 927 times on social media on average in Serbia, the Executive Vice President of the International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX), Aleksandar Dardeli, told Voice of America in Georgia.

Dardeli said that the international, nonprofit organization, which specializes in global education and development, found that a total of 43 fake news stories were shared via the media and social media from March 12 to April 12 in the country.

Some of the fake news shared most commonly refer to topics such as China’s efficient response to the coronavirus crisis and conspiracy theories, such as that NATO is responsible for the virus, he said.ž

“Such content was shared online and by traditional media a total of 241 times. On Facebook it had 220 thousand shares,” he said.

Dardeli explained that it is difficult to get data which could indicate what group is most susceptible to disinformation and the damage it causes but that, generally, this could be defined as two major groups of people.

“One of them is, for example, a group nostalgic for the Yugoslavian past of Serbia and its historic connections with the Slavic world. That group particularly is most susceptible to disinformation which comes from the outside, especially from the Kremlin which seeks to implement geopolitical divisions and eventually turn Serbia towards Russia and the East, and not towards the West, the European Union and the North Atlantic Alliance," he said.

The other group, which may be bigger, are people who use fear and uncertainty due to the coronavirus pandemic and it is not particular to any age since the issue has affected everyone in the same way.

He cited an IREX study which said that 97 percent of Serbia’s population watches TV at least two hours a day while 60 percent uses Facebook and 44 percent Youtube.

"According to the majority of respondents, Television Pink publishes the most misinformation,” he said.

The issue can not be resolved easily or within a short time, he argued, adding that to tackle misinformation, Serbia’s civil society, media professionals, government institutions and the private sector must all work on it.

“Unfortunately, Serbia is lagging in the area of media freedom and the work of media professionals. The Reporters Without Borders report states that Serbia has become a country where it is often dangerous to be a journalist, while fake news that is being promoted at light speed is becoming more and more visible. It’s no wonder that in the last report, Serbia slipped by three positions, ranking to 93rd,” he said, adding that “now is the time for action.”

Source:  A fake news article is shared 927 times on social media on average in Serbia, the Executive Vice President of the International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX), Aleksandar Dardeli, told Voice of America in Georgia.

Dardeli said that the international, nonprofit organization, which specializes in global education and development, found that a total of 43 fake news stories were shared via the media and social media from March 12 to April 12 in the country.

Some of the fake news shared most commonly refer to topics such as China’s efficient response to the coronavirus crisis and conspiracy theories, such as that NATO is responsible for the virus, he said.ž

“Such content was shared online and by traditional media a total of 241 times. On Facebook it had 220 thousand shares,” he said.

Dardeli explained that it is difficult to get data which could indicate what group is most susceptible to disinformation and the damage it causes but that, generally, this could be defined as two major groups of people.

“One of them is, for example, a group nostalgic for the Yugoslavian past of Serbia and its historic connections with the Slavic world. That group particularly is most susceptible to disinformation which comes from the outside, especially from the Kremlin which seeks to implement geopolitical divisions and eventually turn Serbia towards Russia and the East, and not towards the West, the European Union and the North Atlantic Alliance," he said.

The other group, which may be bigger, are people who use fear and uncertainty due to the coronavirus pandemic and it is not particular to any age since the issue has affected everyone in the same way.

He cited an IREX study which said that 97 percent of Serbia’s population watches TV at least two hours a day while 60 percent uses Facebook and 44 percent Youtube.

"According to the majority of respondents, Television Pink publishes the most misinformation,” he said.

The issue can not be resolved easily or within a short time, he argued, adding that to tackle misinformation, Serbia’s civil society, media professionals, government institutions and the private sector must all work on it.

“Unfortunately, Serbia is lagging in the area of media freedom and the work of media professionals. The Reporters Without Borders report states that Serbia has become a country where it is often dangerous to be a journalist, while fake news that is being promoted at light speed is becoming more and more visible. It’s no wonder that in the last report, Serbia slipped by three positions, ranking to 93rd,” he said, adding that “now is the time for action.”

A fake news article is shared 927 times on social media on average in Serbia, the Executive Vice President of the International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX), Aleksandar Dardeli, told Voice of America in Georgia.

Dardeli said that the international, nonprofit organization, which specializes in global education and development, found that a total of 43 fake news stories were shared via the media and social media from March 12 to April 12 in the country.

Some of the fake news shared most commonly refer to topics such as China’s efficient response to the coronavirus crisis and conspiracy theories, such as that NATO is responsible for the virus, he said.ž

“Such content was shared online and by traditional media a total of 241 times. On Facebook it had 220 thousand shares,” he said.

Dardeli explained that it is difficult to get data which could indicate what group is most susceptible to disinformation and the damage it causes but that, generally, this could be defined as two major groups of people.

“One of them is, for example, a group nostalgic for the Yugoslavian past of Serbia and its historic connections with the Slavic world. That group particularly is most susceptible to disinformation which comes from the outside, especially from the Kremlin which seeks to implement geopolitical divisions and eventually turn Serbia towards Russia and the East, and not towards the West, the European Union and the North Atlantic Alliance," he said.

The other group, which may be bigger, are people who use fear and uncertainty due to the coronavirus pandemic and it is not particular to any age since the issue has affected everyone in the same way.

He cited an IREX study which said that 97 percent of Serbia’s population watches TV at least two hours a day while 60 percent uses Facebook and 44 percent Youtube.

"According to the majority of respondents, Television Pink publishes the most misinformation,” he said.

The issue can not be resolved easily or within a short time, he argued, adding that to tackle misinformation, Serbia’s civil society, media professionals, government institutions and the private sector must all work on it.

“Unfortunately, Serbia is lagging in the area of media freedom and the work of media professionals. The Reporters Without Borders report states that Serbia has become a country where it is often dangerous to be a journalist, while fake news that is being promoted at light speed is becoming more and more visible. It’s no wonder that in the last report, Serbia slipped by three positions, ranking to 93rd,” he said, adding that “now is the time for action.”

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a602763/IREX-A-fake-news-article-is-shared-927-times-on-average-in-Serbia.html

Grenell stepping down as US Ambassador in Germany, remains Kosovo envoy

May 24, 2020

Ambassador Richard Grenell confirmed over the weekend that he will not be returning to his post of US Ambassador in Germany after his term as acting Director of National Intelligence expires but will not quit his job as rhe US President’s envoy for Kosovo Richard Grenell.

Grenell confirmed reports in Politico and earlier reports in March this year by the Daily Wire news portal that he would step down. US President Donald Trump called Grenell back to Washington in February to take over as acting head of US intelligence, replacing former acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire. Last week, the U.S. Senate confirmed John Ratcliffe to take over from Grenell.

The ambassador’s spokesman Dick Custin told Radio Free Europe that Grenell will remain President’s Trumps envoy for Kosovo, adding that he is looking forward to the next discussion about the dialogue as soon as the new Kosovo government is confirmed.

The Politico portal quoted German news outlets that said that Grenell will step down as head of the US diplomatic mission in Berlin. Politico asked an embassy spokesperson for a comment and was told that the “embassy’s policy is not to comment on travel or schedules”. “Ambassador Grenell has continued to actively engage on administration priorities on Germany while serving as the acting director of national Intelligence," the unnamed spokesperson said.  

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a602951/Grenell-stepping-down-as-US-Ambassador-in-Germany.html

May 24, 2020 Croatia's Covid-19 crisis management team has registered only one new coronavirus case in the past 24 hours, authorities reported on Sunday afternoon. A total of 61,482 people have been tested for the virus since it came to the country in Feb

May 24, 2020

An extended curfew started in North Macedonia on Sunday at 11 am and will last until Tuesday at 5 am on Tuesday.

Media reported that Muslims used the morning hours of Eid al-Fitr to pray in mosques and, according to the recommendations of the Islamic Community in the country, the prayers lasted no longer than 15 minutes while participants were required to abide by protective measures.

The curfew the day before, as in previous days, started at 7 pm and lasted until 5 am this morning, and the police said that 59 citizens did not respect the ban on movement, that 32 of them were detained.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a602805/Extended-curfew-starts-in-North-Macedonia.html

One new coronavirus case reported in Croatia

May 24, 2020

Croatia's Covid-19 crisis management team has registered only one new coronavirus case in the past 24 hours, authorities reported on Sunday afternoon.

A total of 61,482 people have been tested for the virus since it came to the country in February and 618 have been tested in the last 24 hours.

There are currently six Covid-19 patients on ventilators in Croatia.

About 90 percent of Covid-19 patients in the country have recovered to date.

Source:  http://ba.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a436063/One-new-coronavirus-case-reported-in-Croatia.html

Bosnia records lowest daily number of new coronavirus cases in 2 months

May 24, 2020

Health authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina reported 10 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours and the total number of people who caught the virus since it came to the country until this Sunday is 2,401, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said.

A total of 144 people have passed away due to Covid-19 in the country so far, while 1,680 have recovered.

The Serb-majority semi-autonomous entity of Republika Srpska (RS) has 1,359 confirmed coronavirus cases, while the other region, the Federation (FBiH), has 1022.

Brcko District, which is not part of the two regions, has 20 cases.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a602791/Bosnia-records-lowest-daily-number-of-new-coronavirus-cases-in-2-months.html

Coronavirus UPDATE: 67 new cases, no deaths in Serbia

May 24, 2020

Nobody died in Serbia due to Covid-19 in the past 24 hours while another 67 people of the 3,644 tested positive for the coronavirus since Saturday, the Health Ministry said on Sunday.

A total of 11,159 coronavirus cases were confirmed in Serbia since the virus came to the country and the Covid-19 death rate is now 2,13 percent, while 5,857 recovered.

The number of people hospitalized in Serbia is 658 and 12 of them are on ventilators.

Serbia has tested a total of 217,856 of its citizens so far.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a602811/Coronavirus-UPDATE-67-new-cases-no-deaths-in-Serbia.html

Bosnia's int. administrator: Institutions must ensure funding for elections

May 23, 2020

The Office of Bosnia’s international administrator said on Saturday that the country’s institutions are legally obliged to ensure adequate financing of elections and that it is “of crucial importance” that they fully cooperate with the country’s Central Election Commission (CEC) which postponed the 2020 local elections to November 15.

Elections were scheduled for October 4 but were moved to November 15 “to allow time for overcoming the challenges related to the financing of the organization of elections as well as challenges caused by COVID-19 pandemic,” the Office of the High Representative (OHR) said.

“The OHR wishes to remind all relevant bodies, including the Council of Ministers, the Presidency, and the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina of their legal obligation to ensure adequate financing of the elections,” it said, adding that this would “enable the CEC to carry out all necessary preparations for the conduct and holding of local elections in a smooth and timely fashion with the aim to enable citizens” to exercise their guaranteed rights under the Constitution.

“It is of crucial importance that institutions on all levels fully cooperate with the CEC as is legally required to carry out this core democratic function in BiH,” it said.

The institution also pointed out that “any challenges concerning the appointment process of members to the CEC is solely the purview of the court, and thus all CEC members operate in full standing pending the court’s findings.”

Source:  http://ba.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a435897/Bosnia-s-int.-administrator-Institutions-must-ensure-funding-for-elections.html

Prosecutors investigate allegations regarding fake visas for Pakistanis

May 23, 2020

Bosnian prosecutors have started investigating allegations that fake visas could have been issued to persons “of high migration risk,” the head of the Prosecutor’s Office, Gordana Tadic, told Bosnia’s public broadcaster, BHRT, on Saturday.

“The Prosecutor’s Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina is conducting an investigation into the issue of issuing fake visas to persons of high migration risk from Pakistan and Iraq,” Tadic confirmed in written form.

The Serb member of Bosnia’s tripartite Presidency, Milorad Dodik, has recently accused Bosnia’s Ambassador in Pakistan, Sakib Foric, of organising 3,000 fake Bosnian visas from Pakistani citizens.

Bosnia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry reacted to the statement, saying it did not come across any information that would confirm this but asking judicial and police agencies to urgently check the allegations.

Source:  http://ba.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a435929/Prosecutors-investigate-allegations-regarding-fake-visas-for-Pakistanis.html

Who is permitted to enter Bosnia and Herzegovina at the moment

May 23, 2020

Bosnia and Herzegovina is allowing only certain categories of foreigners to enter the country, such as business people who can prove they were invited to a business meeting and have tested negative on COVID-19 in the past 48 hours, Bosnia’s auto-moto club, BIHAMK, said on Saturday.

Among them are health workers entering to perform their professional duties, persons requiring urgent medical treatment, cross-border workers, Civil Protection staff, members of military forces of the North Atlantic Treaty countries and other countries participating in the Partnership for Peace Program, as well as staff members of NATO and EUFOR headquarters in Bosnia and Herzegovina, foreigners with permanent or temporary residence in the country, drivers and escorts of mortal remains and crews of freight trains and ships in international traffic.

Further exceptions include heads of states and members of their delegations whose arrival and departure were announced to the border staff through diplomatic channels or through the protocol of the competent state institution, transit of foreigners returning to their countries without stopping on Bosnian territory and foreigners with a special permit to enter Bosnia and Herzegovina, stay or transit through, approved by the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Entry is permitted also to citizens of neighbouring countries who own agricultural land in Bosnia and Herzegovina and are working on it. Such persons are obliged to prove their ownership of the land or present a statement of the owner of the land that he is performing agricultural work on that land.Such persons are obliged to adhere to and respect all instructions and orders of the competent bodies of Bosnia and Herzegovina (epidemiological and health services).

Croatia and Montenegro are allowing only their own citizens, foreigners with permanent residence and truck drivers enter their countries.

Source:  http://ba.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a435871/Who-is-permitted-to-enter-Bosnia-and-Herzegovina-at-the-moment.html

Serbian Radical Party wants government to stop funding "anti-Serb" NGOs

May 23, 2020

The Serbian Radical Party (SRS) will propose a law that would ban any government funding for NGOs which, according to the party, costs the state more than ten billion Serbian Dinars yearly.

According to SRS deputy leader, Aleksandar Seselj, citizens should not pay “NGOs which openly engage in anti-Serb policy and subversive activities.”

“We propose that NGOs which promote an independent Kosovo, those which declare that Serbs are genocidal people, those which desecrate the monument to Patriarch Pavle, which insult Serbian culture, Serbian history and Serbian tradition, are not being funded (by the government)," Seselj said.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a602597/Serbian-Radical-Party-wants-government-to-stop-funding-anti-Serb-NGOs.html

Alliance for Serbia: We support SANU President's calls for dialogue

May 23, 2020

The opposition Alliance for Serbia (SzS) reacted to a recently published article by a member of Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts (SANU), Vladimir Kostic, agreeing that it is important to start a proper dialogue between the government and the opposition.

“We understood the article as a public appeal and we respect the fact this is the first time that someone from a state institution sent such a sobering message. We agree with the statement of academic Kostic that 'there are no innocents' but also that' responsibility is primarily in the hands of those in power' ", the SzS said, adding that it was always ready for serious talks on all topics, especially those that would lead to free elections and free media.

Such talks have not taken place so far, even regarding ways to respond to the constitutional, political and economic crisis following the coronavirus pandemic, SzS said.

"We also agree with the statement that the number of votes 'must not be an alibi for all the actions we are witnessing, and especially not for violence' and that this must apply to everyone. We agree that the institutions are devastated and that the government has been personalized, but that it does not release us from the responsibility to talk to political opponents, because the alternative to talks is a civil war, which we are, just as academic Kostic, afraid of,” SzS said.

The political group also agreed with Kostic’s statement that Serbia’s citizens “are left without democratic conditions and trust in institutions, the multi-party political life and their participation in it” and that they expect that “someone come from somewhere and brings an “outcome or a solution," stating that this is why an urgent dialogue between the government and the opposition is necessary.

However, it said that such a dialogue should not only be "pro forma" in order to satisfy someone outside but in order to avoid the scenario which academic Kostic described. "We are not running away from responsibility, but it’s the government’s move now,” it said.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a602543/Alliance-for-Serbia-We-support-SANU-President-s-calls-for-dialogue.html

Democratic Party: Killers of Zoran Djindjic are not heroes

May 23, 2020

The killers of Serbia’s former Prime Minister, Zoran Djindjic, are not heroes, the Democratic Party (DS) said in response to an article published by the local newspaper Alo.

In the article, Dragan Vasiljkovic, known as ‘Captain Dragan’, asks for the early release of Milorad Ulemek Legija and Zvezdan Jovanovic who were sentenced to 40 years in prison for the assassination.

Vasiljkovic was recently released from prison early after he served a sentence for war crimes which was handed down against him by Croatia’s judiciary and he announced that he will run in Serbia’s elections.

The DS said that publishing such an article would be impossible without agreement from Serbia’s President, Aleksandar Vucic, “who has according to his own admission celebrated Djindjic’s assassination the third time he got drunk in his life, while the second time he was drunk was after the journalist Slavko Curuvija was killed.”

“It is very important that Serbia’s citizens at this moment recognise the true policies of Vucic his hypocritical attempt to present those behind that crime as those who continue the policy over which the first democratically elected Prime Minister of Serbia Zoran Djindjic was killed,” the party said.

The Party for Freedom and Justice (SSP) also reacted to the Alo article. It condemned “attempts to present killers as heroes” and added that it “will not allow a revision of historical facts and legal rehabilitation of criminals.”

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a602593/Democratic-Party-Killers-of-Zoran-Djindjic-are-not-heroes.html

Head of Serbia's Islamic Community congratulates Eid to Muslims

May 23, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has made people across the world learn and feel “all the bitterness of loneliness,” the head of Serbia’s Islamic Community, Sead Nasufovic, said in his message for the Islamic holiday of Eid on Saturday, stressing the importance of respecting every human being and helping the needy.

The three-day holiday, locally called Bayram, marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan, which Muslims spend fasting daily until the evening.

“Let us not forget that human civilization began at the moment when one human came to the aid of another,” Nasufovic said at his press conference in Belgrade.

“Only through fasting do people get a special power of humility with which they reach the highest heights. With this, a person gets the strength to lower their gaze away from everything and direct it toward the heart,” he said.

“By looking into one's heart one gets to know themself, contrary to everything that modern man is occupied with,” he added.

Serbia’s President, Aleksandar Vucic, Parliament Speaker, Maja Gojkovic, and other government officials have also congratulated Bayram to Nasufovic and all Muslims.

The Bajram prayer will take place on Sunday morning at 7 am, Nasufovic said, adding that the prayer at the Bajrakli Mosque in Belgrade will take place in the yard of the mosque as well to ensure proper social distancing.

Protective masks and gloves will also be handed out.             

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a602633/Head-of-Serbia-s-Islamic-Community-congratulates-Eid-to-Muslims.html

Coronavirus UPDATE: 68 new cases, one death in Serbia

May 23, 2020

Another person has passed away due to Covid-19 in Serbia, bringing the death toll in the country to 238, while 11,092 people are infected with the coronavirus in the country. The death rate is 2,14 percent.

Serbia tested 4,415 people were tested for the virus in the past 24 hours and 68 samples were positive. 

A total of 665 Covid-19 patients are currently hospitalised while 12 of them are on ventilators.

Serbia has tested a total of 214,212 of people for the virus so far.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a602559/Coronavirus-UPDATE-68-new-cases-one-death.html

A total of 2,391 people are now infected with the coronavirus in Bosnia

May 23, 2020

Both of Bosnia’s two semi-autonomous regions have reported new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours and the total number of people infected in the country is on Saturday 2,391, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said.

Health authorities in Bosnia’s Republika Srpska (RS) region reported that they tested 524 samples for the coronavirus and that 13 of them came back positive. There are now 1,351 people infected with the virus in the RS.  

Meanwhile, the Sarajevo University Clinical Centre in the Federation (FBiH) region said that, of the 548 people tested, eight new coronavirus cases were confirmed. FBiH currently has 1020 coronavirus cases.

The Brcko District, which belongs to neither of the two entities, has 20 cases.  

A total of 141 people have passed away due to the virus in Bosnia so far, while 1,662 have recovered.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a602567/A-total-of-2-391-people-are-now-infected-with-the-coronavirus-in-Bosnia.html

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