Infection with manipulation

 

Inability of the media to find an adequate response to these challenges has led the societies around the world to have their citizens consume media manipulation through media content as well.

 

Even states that often deny the existence of this phenomenon and find no adequate response to it, contribute to the spread of infection with manipulation.  

This is the current situation in Montenegro as well, and through a six-month analysis of media releases, we have found that manipulations in media reporting on international politics are present mostly in online media.

At the end of 2018, we launched the platform called Raskrinkavanje.me, in cooperation with partners from Sarajevo Citizens’ Association “Why not”, with the financial support of the National Endowment for Democracy, with the aim to show citizens through specific examples that they must carefully consume media content and make the difference between professional and tabloid reporting. 

 

During the six-monh period, our team has analyzed at least 500 articles from around 200 local and regional media outlets.

In this initial phase, until we further build capacities, we are monitoring media releases on international policy, defense and security since these are the topics that are the focus of CDT’s work through the Info Center on Euro-Atlantic Integration.

In several cases, we have also been monitoring releases of regional media outlets that are very well read in Montenegro.  

 

By using our methodology, we have recognized a whole range of media manipulations ranging from “clickbaits” (the title promises content that is not in the article) as “the least serious violation”, through disinformation, manipulation of facts, biased reporting, unverified media releases, conspiracy theories to “false news” as “the most serious violation” (media produce completely false information on their own and present it as a fact).

 

Regardless of the motives of media outlets to publish such unprofessional content, we need to be aware that such reporting leads to increased tensions and intolerance between different ethnic groups, it undermines the civic values and the concept of society that is based on informed citizens who can think and decide independently.

 

The institutions’ response to these dangerous tendencies that are visible in the Montenegrin society is missing.

 

This is confirmed not only by the absence of an initiative to create policies to counter media manipulation, but also by often ignoring our inquiries for information that would help us evaluate articles of suspicious content.  

 

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