Eraldin Fazliu the editor in chief of “Pristina Insight”, in an interview for Portalb.mk, says that the most common disinformation comes from the politicians in Kosovo. He points out that one of the main problems of Kosovo is disinformation with visual elements. Such as old photographs and pictures received from other places, that are with an expired date, wrong or inappropriate. In this way, an attempt for panic is being made and such news have a potential to upset people even endanger their personal and public security.
Which are the biggest challenges in the process of disinformation in Kosovo?
-In Kosovo, disinformation and fake news happen because of the poor information from journalists themselves, thus making unintentional mistakes that are then spread like a large wave of untruths. Also, another one of the big problems in Kosovo is the disinformation with visual elements. Old photographs and pictures received from other places, that are with an expired date, wrong or inappropriate. With this, an attempt for panic is being made and such news have a potential to upset people even endanger personal as well as public security. We have the Law for Access to Public Information, however there are cases when we are given partial documents, or not given documents at all because they are treated as confidential or a state secret. There are always excuses as to why the documents that we need are not given. However, KRYPOMETËR in Kosovo reveals all the untruths and misinformation, starting with the officials, politicians and even journalists.
What are the most common disinformation and manipulation in Kosovo?
Its hard to categorize them because there are of different kinds. Disinformation that come from the politicians are most common. We had the most elaborate case when the president of the state publicly tells a journalist that he is lying about a matter of public interest, even ten times, but in fact the journalist did not lie and was completely right.
Where does disinformation come from?
-The relations between Kosovo and Serbia are in a separate sphere where there is disinformation the most. This is a result of the language barrier but also because of the open questions between the two countries and the possibility of ethnic tensions. The media of Serbia transfer untruths about Kosovo, their own or received from Serbian MPs, and it is sometimes transmitted without being checked, correctly translated and thus wrongly interpreted in our media.
Are media associations active in the fight against disinformation?
-We have the Council for printed media, a body for self-regulation in which the most serious medias in the country are members. They publicly discuss and internally make decisions and take contra-measures against a medium or take measures to correct the damage caused by false information. They organize seminars and trainings. However, the problem is that in this association not all online media are members because there are many portals which do not have facts but only misinformation. Yet, there are organizations that through projects try to conduct activities against false information, to write and organize public events.
Does the Kosovo government plan to take measures against disinformation and how active is it?
-There is no particular activity. What makes the situation even worse, is that many government departments pay ads to unknown and unregistered online media. For political marketing and their political activities, certain ministries pay media with no credibility. Even behind such media are people from the ministries themselves.