The text ‘Who is this Dunja Mijatovic person?’ starts with an offensive title, trying to present the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatovic as an unimportant person interfering in the internal affairs of Macedonia and unnecessarily commenting on the freedom of the media. According to the text, Mijatovic is still an unknown person in the UK despite the fact that this country is establishing a new regulatory body for the print media, which is a threat to media freedom.
“The two distinguished British newspapers have neither heard, nor are they interested in the statements and function of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media
First of all, it must be noted that the freedom of the press in Macedonia is not even close to the British standards, but according to the article we reviewed – Macedonia, same as the UK, doesn’t need OSCE’s comments, and the article ignores the fact that no journalist is imprisoned in the UK and that its democracy provides true freedom of the press. In her statement given as a reaction to the British regulatory body, Mijatovic says that this country has been at the forefront in freedom of the press for centuries, and therefore she considers this regulation unnecessary.
There is no doubt that Britain’s new regulatory body should be criticized, but this article is an accusation for the reaction of Mijatovic for the UK and an attempt to prove that her function is completely unnecessary and that there is no reason for Macedonia to take her statements into consideration.
Link to the original article: Која е таа Дуња Мијатовиќ?
Date and time of publication: 05.11.2013
Review date: 06.11.2013
Reviewer: Svetlana Jovanovska
Accuracy of facts: The only truth in this article is that the author made a call to the UK and had a conversation with representatives of the group that owns British tabloids and whose statements were probably conveyed truthfully, although the name of the spokesman she discussed with is not provided.
“She reserved the right not to reveal her name, explaining that these were the communication rules of her corporation. Nevertheless, the two distinguished British newspapers have neither heard, nor are they interested in the statements and function of Dunja Mijatovic, which is not the case in Macedonia.”
The rest of the article is full of manipulations whose sole purpose is to discredit the OSCE representative (and thereby the institution) and to underestimate her reactions to the ruling for journalist Kezarovski.
Information Sources The article is a nervous reaction to OSCE’s remarks about Kezarovski. The source of information is an unnamed spokesperson, but we believe that there should be no doubt that the author of the text has really spoken to the spokesperson. His/her statements are used to confirm the thesis of the text that the OSCE is not necessary in Macedonia.
Extensiveness: A lot can be written about the extensiveness of this text, because it is a true example of how not to write a news article.
The author of the text is discussing with an interlocutor from the company publishing two newspapers, but the author is not discussing with the journalists. The person that is presented in the text as the spokesperson, probably doesn’t have direct contact with journalistic work, but with the commercial part of the media activity, so it’s completely understandable that the spokesperson doesn’t know the name of Dunja Mijatovic. Mijatovic is an OSCE official and her reactions are those of the institution she is working for, so she’s not a popular star that is famous worldwide. Hence, it does not matter if her name is famous or not, what matters is the essence of the reactions of the institution she works for.
Even in this text, having in mind its manipulative and propaganda context, a statement of the spokeswoman is conveyed, according to which, it is very important for their company to have the support of the international media when it comes to freedom of the press in that country.
It is obvious that the author believes that Macedonia is on the same level of freedom of the press as the UK. Therefore, the author claims that the fact that Dunja Mijatovic is unknown in this European country shows us that criticism of Macedonia for “the censorship in Macedonian media” should not be taken seriously.
The OSCE is treating Macedonia and the United Kingdom equally. The institution reacts to every problem in Europe that could be a threat to the freedom of the media. But the author of the text failed to find the announcements of the OSCE related to violations of freedom of the press in the United Kingdom, hence the parts of the text where this is discussed are incorrect. Moreover, the vocabulary of the OSCE in its reactions is always moderate and diplomatic. It cannot be argued that the reactions are moderate for some countries, and completely opposite for other countries, as it is argued in this text.
“Although she is unknown in the UK, the Macedonian public has the opportunity lately, especially in the case with journalist Tomislav Kezarovski, to frequently listen to her criticism for “the censorship in Macedonian media”. Unlike the call to the British authorities, which is moderate and with no significant criticism, the several messages sent to the authorities in Macedonia are quite the opposite.”
The text does not explain the regulatory body that was formed in the UK and does not specify that this is not a law but a body that the media may or may not be able to join. In brief, the media will have no obligation to follow its guidelines concerning defamation lawsuits, after the country went through this type of scandals in recent years. The media and the government went through a dialogue process in order to reach a decision about this body. We do not intend to defend the position of the British government, which is debatable, but the case of this regulatory body cannot be compared to our case of a prison sentence for a journalist, announcements for adopting a new law on media and the general climate in which the journalists are working.
Bias: Almost every line of the text is biased, aiming to discredit the work of the OSCE in the field of media freedom and to warn us that the reactions of Mijatovic are not objective.
Commenting: The whole text is actually a comment on the role of the OSCE and its representative for media.
Discrediting adjectives are used in several places, for instance “Mijatovic is an OSCE supporter”, “we’ve never heard of this person before” or “the author doesn’t like this lady which is an icon for the ‘repressed’ Macedonian media”. The subheading of the text speaks of ‘selective reactions and double standards’ when describing OSCE‘s reactions to the UK and Macedonia.
Quality of the title: The title is an insult to the OSCE and its representative for the media. “Who is this Dunja Mijatovic person?” is a question from which the reader can draw a conclusion that this person may not criticize anyone. If the newspaper really wanted to explain the role of Mijatovic, the title would have been “Who is Dunja Mijatovic?”. The additional personal pronoun in the Macedonian original title makes the title offending.
Photograph: The photograph in the text is appropriate and shows Dunja Mijatovic before a “wall” of print media. We might say that the photograph is the only correct part of this text.
Conclusion: The conclusion of the reader, after reading this article, should be that the verdict of Kezarovski and the reactions to freedom of the media are a fabrication of the international community that has nothing to say to us on this subject. In short – ignore it and read our media that has the truth in its pocket!
The truth is quite different. OSCE is the largest regional security organization in which Macedonia has its own ambassador, so the media should respect this institution. This does not mean that the OSCE should be exempt from criticism, but the criticism must be credible and based on facts.
The reviewed text does not offer a single argument and a single credible statement. It belongs to the category of texts in Macedonian media searching for the easiest way to discredit a person or institution who dared to criticize the governments’ policy. Unfortunately, this is not the first text of this kind, and probably not the last.
Finally, let’s say that when writing about this, the author of the text did not bother to consult media such as “The Guardian” where they are well informed about Dunja Mijatovic, but she called the tabloids. One of the journalists of the “Guardian” claims that the new regulatory body for the media will be ignored by the media and they will continue to do their journalistic work, practicing freedom of expression, same as in the last 300 years in the UK.
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).
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