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Review: The Dutch Embassy funds the opposition and the creation of parallel state systems in Macedonia

on 13 - 01 - 2014       
Овој напис го има и на: Macedonian, Albanian

Холандската амбасада финансира опозиција и создавање парадржавни-crop-resize

This is an article in which all of the ethical and professional journalistic standards have been suspended. This speculative editorial material does not indicate sources, facts and arguments, but is full of accusations for the Embassy of the Netherlands in Macedonia. The author claims that the embassy would, allegedly, finance the opposition-friendly media with a grant of 80,000 euros and will work against the Government and the interests of the country!

‘The intention of the Dutch embassy to work against the current government and against the Republic of Macedonia is obvious if we take into account the fact that one of the funded projects is a website that will publish data about all the media in the Republic of Macedonia: who are its founders, what is the amount of money they have invested, who are the editors, how many journalists are working for them, how much revenue and expenses did they have during the year and from which activities, etc. This website is run by former journalists from the Ramkovski clan. All the data that will be published by the new portal is already available through the Central Registry and the Public Revenue Office. This means that the Embassy is funding the creation of a parallel system in Macedonia as opposed to the state institutions, which would be used for the intents and purposes of the opposition and the foreign embassies before the decision-making centers in Brussels.’

Holandska_ambasada_shortLink to the original article: Холандската амбасада финансира опозиција и создавање парадржавни системи во Македонија

Date and time of publication: 10.01.2014

Review Date: 11.01.2014

ReviewerOlivera Vojnovska

Accuracy of facts: All the allegations in the article are groundless and arbitrary. The project for the website for a database about the media owners, which is referred to in the text as, allegedly, extremely dangerous for the interests of the country, is not a project of the Dutch Embassy, but of the South East European Media Observatory and according to our information, the amount is far smaller than 80,000 euros.

Contrary to the assertion in the article:

‘In a closed procedure, the Embassy first decided to sign agreements with the media it selected according to its own criteria, and then notified the public and the other applicants about the non-transparent process it has implemented’

– the strong reaction from the Dutch embassy, which was shared by part of the media, says:

 ‘the 2013 Progress Report makes several references to the condition of the media and the protection of freedom of expression in the media is one of the key areas in the focus of the High Level Accession Dialogue between the EU and Macedonia, introduced in March 2012. The Macedonian government has also identified the ‘strengthening of ethical and professional standards in journalism’ as a goal in this dialogue.

Harmonizing these priorities with its foreign policy priorities, the Netherlands decided to allocate a part of its budget for bilateral aid in the next two years for the media, in order to further support the development of professional standards in the media and to continue to promote the freedom of expression.

In the spirit of transparency, the Embassy provides all the information related to the previous and current donor activities, both to the Macedonian government and to the general public. Details about these activities can also be found on the Embassy’s website, and details about the projects supported under the media fund will also be posted on the website at the time when the Embassy formalizes the decisions with agreements’.

Regarding the allegations in the last paragraph of the article:

‘We never saw funding of educational projects in schools or activities for inciting entrepreneurship, small enterprises, agriculture and culture. The only tangible benefit from the funding of the Dutch Embassy would be the 50 tulips planted in the City Park in Skopje.’

– the Embassy provided precise data about the amount of its donations and their allocation, thus making it obvious that the article we are reviewing is full of false accusations.

Also, the allegation:

‘the Dutch Embassy funded the work of NGO ‘Razbudi se’ and its president Artan Grubi in the period from 2008 to 2013’…

is completely false, according to the announcement of the Dutch Embassy.

“The Embassy never funded any activities of NGO ‘Razbudi se’.”

Extensiveness: The method in which this article is prepared, the intonation and construction clearly indicate that there was no intention whatsoever to hear the other side, or to inquire about the position of the Dutch Embassy, or the views of the fellow journalists from the ‘Ramkovski clan’, who are also placed on the ‘pillar of Shame’. It would have been nice to ask them, at least in the name of solidarity: What kind of a grant is this, and how much of whose money is being used for creating ‘parallel state systems’!?

Bias: The article is spinning the truth and openly supporting the ruling party.

Commenting: This article with an undefined genre is full of allegations and commenting elements, and we cannot say whether they are or are not integrated with the facts, because there aren’t any facts.

Originality/Plagiarism: This was an editorial article released to several media on the same day, with the media citing the newspaper as the source of the article.

Quality of the title: The title is opinionated and spinning, with the intention of being shocking.

Photo: The article contains two images (a screenshot of two articles with the titles ‘Artan Grubi among the primary suspects for the fights on Kale’ and ‘Albanian employed in the Dutch embassy sparked an interethnic incident”, published in the newspaper three years ago. These images are used to amplify the impression about the ‘destructive scenario’ of the Dutch Embassy and some of the opposition-friendly journalists!

Hate Speech: The article is using an insulting tone, presenting the Dutch Embassy in a bad light and provoking negative reactions from some of the readers, which is obvious from the obscene comments posted under the text. Another deliberately created accusation was:

 ‘The Dutch Embassy also funded the operation of the LGBT center in Macedonia and supported the organization of the gay parades’

In fact, a ‘March of tolerance’ took place in Skopje, supported by various organizations, including the ones fighting for the rights of the LGBT community.

Conclusion: This discrediting article featured on the newspaper’s front page is an audacious attack on the reputation of the Dutch embassy. The article evokes negative feelings towards the Netherlands, which is one of the countries providing financial support to Macedonia, and a country that is our honest friend. The conclusion of the text:

‘The only tangible benefit from the funding of the Dutch Embassy would be the 50 tulips planted in the City Park in Skopje.’

is crude, insensitive and utterly appalling.


This review was created within the framework of the USAID Media Strengthening in Macedonia Project - Media Fact-Checking Service Component,, mplemented by Metamorphosis. The review is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the responsibility of its author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Metamorphosis, USAID or the United States Government. For more information on the work of USAID in Macedonia please visit its website (http://macedonia.usaid.gov) and Facebook page (www.facebook.com/USAIDMacedonia).

INFOGRAPHIC

infoVistinitostTRUTHFULNESS

doesn't have facts

the accuracy of allegations cannot be determined

trustworthiness of allegations cannot be determined

infoVistinitostSOURCES OF INFORMATION

no sources are presented

one-sided

infoVistinitostEXTENSIVENESS

non-extensive

concealed information

infoVistinitostBIAS

not true

spinning the truth

has false information

biased

infoVistinitostCOMMENTING

comments included

infoVistinitostPLAGIARISM

original work

infoVistinitostTITLE QUALITY

non-informative

sensationalistic

appropriate

tendentious

infoVistinitostPHOTOGRAPH

has a photograph

appropriate

manipulating

author (source) is not attributed

infoVistinitostHATE SPEECH

offensive speech

no hate speech

doesn't encourage violence

no discrimination

infoVistinitostEDITED FOR THE WEB

not readable

low quality multimedia elements

has no contextual links

orderly written

connected with tags

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