More than 400 false news items were published on the front pages of four Serbian tabloids in the first half of 2019, the Raskrinkavanje portal said on Thursday.
The portal was set up by the KRIK investigative journalism portal with the aim of “combating misinformation in the media, ie the rising trend of spreading incorrect information as facts”.
The front pages of the Kurir, Informer, Srpski Telegraf and Alo tabloids included at least 419 items which were false, groundless or whose claims could not be verified, the portal said, adding that its investigation did not include show business news. “Readers of the four dailies with the highest circulations could only be misinformed in the first half of the year. They only had to read the headlines without even opening the newspapers to be manipulated and deceived,” Raskrinkavanje said.
The one thing those tabloids have in common is the negative attitude towards opposition leaders, the 1 in 5 Million protests and neighboring countries, it said adding that opposition leader Dragan Djilas is the politician mentioned most in a negative context.
The tabloids primarily side with President Aleksandar Vucic and his Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) and they did not publish a single negative item about Vucic on their front pages. They also share a positive view of Russian President Vladimir Putin who is portrayed as Serbia’s savior in scores of front page stories which report his words imprecisely or completely falsely.
The tabloids regularly violate the Serbian Journalists’ Code but are constantly awarded funds at tenders, the portal said.