Can’t believe all you read in the media…

…I’m getting rather worried about the normally reliable B92. Doug M expertly dissected the organ-legging story a week or so ago; I’ve just come across this article from 26 March reporting on a UN document describing Kosovo as the “heart of [the] Balkan drug route”. Alarming stuff – essentially confirms the rumours and prejudices of many Balkan-watchers, sealing them with the official seal of UN approval.

Except that it is fictitious. The actual UNODC report contains precisely none of the statements reported by B92. Combing UNODC’s archives, I did find a relevant sentence in one of their reports from last year. The UN says (p. 83), “Some cases of cocaine shipments via the Black Sea to Romania and via the Adriatic Sea to Montenegro often organized by Albanian criminal groups, have already been observed.” This is ever so slightly different from B92’s report of what the UN said, which is “The Albanian mafia has recently begun taking over the control of ports in Romania, in addition to the already solid network existing in Albania and Montenegro”.

In fairness, it’s not B92’s original report, though most people will have seen it on their site; it originates from Tanjug, the Serbian state press agency, reporting from New York. But shame on B92 for not checking out Tanjug’s sources.

3 thoughts on “Can’t believe all you read in the media…

  1. I stopped visiting the B92 website about two years ago. I find their reporting less courageous (and thus neutral) and I get a sense that their standards have slipped of late.

    This is not a shock however. Back in the spring of 2001 a Serbian bus belongin to Nis Express was bombed in the Kosovo-Serbia border and both B92 and BBC News reported another similar bus explosion near Peja/Pec citing a Serb news agency in Bosnia. It became clear within few hours that there was no explosion in Peja/Pec and ever since I view even the BBC News with suspicion. Following the Iraq war, my opinion of BBC News has reached new lows.

  2. Pingback: Global Voices Online » Serbia, Kosovo: Credibility of a B92’s Report

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