From the entire range of disinformation about the escape of Gruevski on November 11, we have chosen the following five as the biggest i.e. most flagrant ones when it comes to their mendacity, especially since they are a product of someone’s imagination, without any connection with the reality and which were proven to be completely false.
The escape of the former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, who was Prime Minister for a decade in Macedonia, tested the media professionalism, not only in Macedonia, but also in the country he escaped to – Hungary, as well as in the countries he travelled through in order to arrive in Hungary and get asylum. Large number of the media, due to the lack of official information from the institutions published articles, stories, reports and analyses filled with speculations, disinformation and sensationalism. For example, the investigation about how Gruevski escaped from Macedonia and how he found himself in the Hungarian Embassy in Tirana is still ongoing and how this part of his escape was performed is still unclear. However, this has not stopped the media to spread speculations and obvious false news about it immediately after the public became aware of the fact that Gruevski has escaped.
- Gruevski’s trace leads to Orbán’s villa
During all occurrences in Macedonia, after the escape of Gruevski, 1TV broadcasted “exclusive information” that Gruevski was in the villa of the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, and that he spent the first night in Hungary in the hotel “Corinthia” in Budapest. Such disinformation was expressly denied. Here is the video of the TV show broadcasted that night, and the respective information starts from 33 minute:
- Gruevski photo taken at Han i Hotit border crossing point
An Albanian medium has published a photo claiming that Gruevski was at the Han i Hotit border crossing point between Albania and Montenegro, and Macedonian and Hungarian media have used such information without any further checking whether such information was true. The photo was actually a simple print screen from a video clip made almost a year ago, on December 21, 2017, when Gruevski was driving “Fiat Punto” in the centre of the City of Skopje, on one of VMRO-DPMNE protests, leading the protest escort of vehicles supporting the persons arrested for the storming of the Macedonian Parliament and the violence on April 27th 2017.
- Gruevski crossed the border dressed as a woman
This news is typical example of ping-pong journalism, i.e. information published in one country is then rewrited erroneously in another country and in the end the country where the original news was produced carbon copies it.
Namely, the Macedonian law professor Vlado Kambovski in an interview for the news site “Sakam da kazam” joked that Gruevski „maybe disguised himself as a woman so that he can escape from Macedonia”. Some Hungarian media have literally understood the professor and published texts with sensational titles claiming that Gruevski has indeed crossed the borders disguised as a woman. What created even bigger chaos was when the Macedonian media have used such disinformation and presented it as exclusive news.
- Gruevski flew to Budapest on a “Malév” airplane
Serbian newspaper ”Politika“ wrote that Gruevski travelled camouflaged with eyeglasses and a hat and that he flew from Tirana to Budapest on a plane of “Malév” airline. The Hungarian national airline ”Malev” had no flights from February 3, 2012 and it no longer exists as a company. “Politika” deleted this text from its online archive soon afterwards.
- Gruevski crossed the border with Bulgarian passport
”Telma” shared the information from Hungarian medium that Gruevski travelled from Skopje to Budapest with Bulgarian passport. Once again, such information was denied by the Bulgarian Ministry of Justice and by the Bulgarian Prime Minister Bojko Borisov, who said that obviously this was fake news.