by: XHABIR DERALLA
CIVIL’s monitoring prepares reports on political events and processes in the country on a daily basis, in several specific areas: political financing, corruption, social justice, hate speech and fake news. From the analyses on the spreading of fake news, disinformation and hate speech, conclusions can be drawn and “peaks” predicted and topics that will be dealt by certain propaganda centers operating in the country.
CIVIL’s analyses confirm that immediately after the early parliamentary elections that were held on July 15, that in terms of the relations between the political actors, among at least some of them, the rhetoric changed slightly, whereas the intensity of the hate speech decreased. Some hard views during the election campaign softened and were replaced with readiness to talk. Among others, on the other hand, some fading or shifting of the focus on propaganda activities is noticed. Nevertheless, a kind of a calm on the “battlefield” of politics is noticed for several days.
But that calm, actually just seemingly, does not also apply to CIVIL. On the contrary, one gets the impression that the intensity of hate speech directed at CIVIL and other actors in civil society, among which certain media, activists and experts, has increased. This is because in the post-election period there is a bit more caution in the public communication between political parties, while the sources for leading campaigns have enough time to direct their attacks against part of civil society that deals with human rights, election monitoring and promoting European values.
It would be wrong to conclude that CIVIL and others affected by black propaganda, have engaged in direct confrontation with the propaganda machinery of Anti-Western structures and nationalists. It’s not a matter of direct confrontation, but rather a temporary move to the “front”. The fire is temporarily turning towards civil society, instead of political parties, in order to discredit the reports and analyses of relevant organizations, media and experts.
Propagandists and party trolls are kept in shape, as they are awaiting new, fierce challenges. From the monitoring and analyses of the political financing, it becomes obvious that the budgets for propaganda are enormous, and the topics they will deal with are exceptionally important for the survival of some political figures, and even entire political elites that are affected by the processes started in North Macedonia.
In the following period, especially in the days when the national holiday Ilinden will be celebrated, and then in the days when the new parliamentary composition will be constituted and during the process of forming the government, a new wave of fake news, disinformation and hate speech is expected, as well as intensified rhetoric and deepening of political rivalries and tensions.
The solution to these challenges in the coming days and weeks before the Macedonian society are simple. The institutions, especially the Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Ministry of Interior, as well as all other relevant institutions, have a legal obligation to come out in protection of the public interest and safety of the citizens. Furthermore, the public, civil society and the media have a legal, moral and professional obligation to provide conditions for a decent, dignified and argumentative debate in society.
Citizens must not allow for them to be victims of manipulations and intimidations that come from propaganda centers that promote divisions, fear and violence. It is enough for them to say no to black propaganda and to check the information and news, no matter how convincing it may seem.
Translation: N. Cvetkovska