Weekly Overview 15/06-21/06

Weekly Overview 15/06-21/06

24/06/2020

Are we heading for a second wave of the infodemic?

In the overview of the week June15 – 21, read about the following:

How a non-existent coronavirus vaccine has already been declared harmful

Has Desanka Maksimović been removed from school curricula?

What’s your first thought when you read that the “first man of Russia” died?

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Last week, after a 40-day break, new cases of COVID-19 have been registered in Montenegro. So far, these have been imported cases, but according to doctors, we can expect an increase in the number of infections in the coming days.

If the measures are not followed, we may soon go back to the stage of local transmissions. Similar epidemiological trends are seen in the surrounding countries with which we share a linguistic and media space.

The infodemic – a faithful companion of the pandemic – shows that we are in danger of re-infecting the media and social networks with disinformation about COVID-19.

Last week, we wrote about the frequently analysed claims that the coronavirus had originated in a laboratory, a conspiracy theory about the coronavirus vaccine with which “Satanist scum wish to inject us and our children” and which contains “aborted baby cells and humanized mouse cells”, and fake news on an alleged human rights tribunal requiring countries to end any further confinement and isolation of citizens.

In the previous days, the headline that Desanka Maksimović, a favourite poet of many Yugoslav generations, had been removed from school curricula in Serbia, spread across Montenegro and the neighbouring countries at incredible speed. Righteous indignation, rage, disgust, and all sorts of criticism were voiced on social networks.

The problem here was that a large number of critics did not read beyond the manipulative clickbait title. Desanka remains in the curricula, including the curricula of all primary school grades, where she belongs.

Only a part of her work has been excluded from the upper grades of grammar school, and replaced by other authors and works that better fit the curricula.

Sad celebrity stories always attract a lot of clicks, and clicks make money. This is how a number of regional portals “lured” us with the headline that “the first man of Russia” had died, complemented by a fitting photo of Putin crying.

But, of course, it was not Vladimir Putin, but a Russian astronaut, Alexei Leonov, who had died, and moreover in October 2019. The information’s tardiness did not stop the disinformers from giving him a proper mourning.

In Montenegro, the standard offer also includes disinformation regarding the turbulent relationship between the State and the Serbian Orthodox Church.

In recent weeks, we have often encountered information – for which no sources had been cited – about an alleged rift in the executive branch on the Church issue, namely between the Prime Minister and the President of the State.

However, the two of them met the bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro together, and presented them with a unique negotiating position.

Elections in Montenegro are expected to be called soon, and the start of the campaign will bring new disinformation narratives from the country and the surroundings.

Never before has there been a need for media literacy like now, so help us by flagging all suspicious information, and we will check it for you.