[Review of the text titled: “International support for VMRO-DPMNE”]
This is a textbook example of a solicited article published in a medium to promote one political party. Typical propaganda that aims to impress the public that VMRO-DPMNE receives international support.
The article is neither commentarial, nor sensationalistic, nor one-sided, yet it looks like an ordinary news from a rally. However, its main flaw is that it is published three hours prior the event’s onset. This represents total manipulation and misinforming of the public.
Link to the original article: Меѓународна поддршка за ВМРО-ДПМНЕ
Date and time of publishing: 27 November 2016, 3:46 PM
Date of review: 27 November 2016
Reviewer: Simona Atanasova
“VMRO-DPMNE and the Coalition for better Macedonia held an electoral rally yesterday in Skopje. At the rally, the party received international support, i.e. it was attended by high representatives of the European Parliamentary Party. VMRO-DPMNE received support from Sebastian Kurz, Austria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Integration, and from the German politician Tobias Zech, vice-president of the European People’s Party and member of the Committee for Labor and Social Issues and Economic Corporations and Development”.
At first glance, the news seems like an ordinary journalistic article. However, the problem is that it reports on something that hasn’t even taken place yet. The article says that VMRO-DPMNE has international support and specifies the names of attendees of a rally that hasn’t taken place yet.
It is published on November 27, at 3:46 PM and reports on who has attended the rally scheduled for November 27, 7:00 PM.
The article uses verb forms in past tense, such as: “took place”, “attended”, “received”… and the rally hasn’t even started yet.
The medium probably posted the article prematurely, by mistake, which obviously has been previously prepared upon somebody’s order.
The readers, though, have to wait for the rally to really take place in the scheduled time, in order to truly know and accurately inform themselves whether Sebastian Kurz and Tobias Zech will attended the rally.
On the other hand, the mistakes in the news regarding the guests and the institutions they come from, are a whole different story. It is said that the Macedonian ruling party received “international support”, i.e. the rally “was attended by high representatives of the European Parliamentary Party”. Then, it is said that the presence of Kurz and Zech depicts the support. The problem is that there is no “European Parliamentary Party” at all. Kurz is a member of the Austrian People’s Party, whereas Zech is a member of the Christian Social Union, that exists and works only on the territory of the German federal state of Bavaria, which is also the smaller coalition partner of Angela Merkel’s CDU (Christian Democratic Union). It is probably thought that Zech is a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, which has nothing to do with the nonexistent “European Parliamentary Party”.
Furthermore, it is said that Zech is “vice-president of the European People’s Party and member of the Committee for Labor and Social Issues and Economic Corporations and Development”. The information that Zech is a vice-president of the European People’s Party is incorrect. He is not among the leaders of the party, neither on its official website, nor on its Wikipedia page. Besides, there is no position such as “vice-president” on the official website of the European People’s Party. There are only president and secretary general. Here, it is probably thought that Zech is a vice-president of the EPP Group in the Council of Europe, as it is specified on his Twitter profile. But, vice-president of the entire European People’s Party or just of its group in the Council of Europe is not the same at all.
When it comes to some kind of “Committee for Labor and Social Issues and Economic Corporations and Development” where Zech is allegedly a member, it is completely unclear why there isn’t any specification regarding this committee. Is it a matter of some kind of committee in the German Bundestag, in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe or of some independent organization or something else? It is not clear at all.
With its “premature publishing”, this article violates the elementary journalistic rules and standards. It completely dishonors the journalistic ethics and the basic principles journalism is based on. And above all, shows complete contempt of the public that has confidence in it and the entire wider public as well
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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