OpisMEDIJavanje: Beware of hybrid objective journalism

”Just as it is important for a journalist to be at the top of their game and to show respect to the public exclusively through their professional results, it is important for consumers of media content to take responsibility for themselves,” the editor of the KoSSev portal, Tatjana Lazarevic said. According to Lazarevic, personal media hygiene will keep readers safe from biased, tendentious, and propaganda based journalism. She also warned about the emergence of hybrid objective journalism – or covert propaganda.

In the latest episode of the media literacy campaign “OpisMEDIJavanje,” Lazarevic spoke about the meaning of objective journalism, the responsibility of readers/viewers, how to recognize biased reporting and why it is important for journalists to be objective and impartial.

When using the word „objective“ before the word journalism, we could say that we have used a pleonasm because journalism should contain the characteristic of impartial reporting on WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED; not on something that we like or don’t like, what we approve of or what makes us angry, or something we would like to report about or something we don’t want to report about. „THAT’S HOW IT IS“ could be another term for journalism

Although it sounds simple, however, in the public but also the media, the topic of objective reporting, and the role of the media in general, has become increasingly popular in the last few years. Among other things, this is a consequence of the emergence of the so-called hybrid objective journalism.

„Today, however, there is so-called hybrid objective journalism or covert propaganda. It is the case when objective reporting standards are formally met, such as the two-sided (cf. of the story) rule, but when other propaganda techniques are used – such as smearing someone, demonizing an enemy or drawing a target on someone, repeating a phrase or political message, exaggerating, intentional data overload, setting a tendentious agenda, waving patriotic flags, creating panic or causing fear, targeting emotions, or when the news consumer must choose either side,“ she explained.

Impartial journalism is also a regular occurrence when it comes to reporting on war crimes and ethnically motivated incidents, Lazarevic warned.

„Every year, the mainstream media reporting in the Albanian language reminds us of the anniversary of the murder of 11 Albanians in North Mitrovica, referring to it as a massacre; some even called it ‘Crystal Night’, also reminding us of the expulsion of Albanians from North Mitrovica on the night of February 4th, 2000. The same thing was done this year, even by reputable Pristina newspapers. Serbian media as well – the so-called mainstream media and the tabloids alike – recall the same night, using harsh words to describe the bombing of Serbs, when several bombs were dropped on a cafe full of Serbian youth, only one of which exploded, seriously injuring 25 young Serbs, some of whom sustained a permanent disability. They also recall the shelling of a UNHCR bus in one of Mitrovica’s enclaves two days earlier. In none of these texts, however, can you read about that other side of the event, about the suffering of the ‘opposite side,’” the KoSSev editor emphasized, adding that an objective journalist never relativizes the facts or guilt of „his people.“

„That is why it is important that, in addition to journalists, the consumers of media content are at the top of their game, that they carefully read and watch the news and follow and understand their content, writing and reporting techniques and a possible message or background, and understand the nuance and tone. And they can clearly understand whether the journalist respected the topic they were dealing with, and thus his own audience.”

For example, in an emergency, such as the coronavirus outbreak, when a media outlet published a news piece at the beginning of the crisis entitled – „The infection is spreading in northern Kosovo, another person infected and seven other prison guards have the same symptoms,“ and at the same time, another media published an article entitled „Another person infected in northern Kosovo, epidemiologists to arrive,“ it is important for the public to see the difference between the two

Lazarevic stressed that journalists are guardians of the truth and chroniclers of our lives, events and testimonies about what people did in one age or epoch. A professional journalist is trained and ready to record that truth through facts – she concluded.

The KoSSev portal, in cooperation with the United Nations Mission in Kosovo, launched a media literacy campaign. See what other journalists have had to say in the previous episodes of “OpisMEDIJavanje”

OpisMEDIJavanje: To whom should you report the media if they violate your rights

OpisMEDIJavanje: News that tells you how you should feel is not used to inform you but manipulate you

OpisMEDIJavanje: Integrity, not clicks

OpisMEDIJavanje: Only media close to the government in Belgrade can reach Kosovo Serb politicians

OpisMEDIJavanje: Think about where the media get their money from

OpisMEDIJavanje: Any unverified information or half-truth can lead to major consequences

OpisMEDIJavanje: You have the right to know what the institutions are doing

OpisMEDIJavanje: Young journalists rarely have the opportunity to work in professional newsrooms

OpisMEDIJavanje: Minority media in Kosovo are important but financially vulnerable

OpisMEDIJavanje: Even-steven, only in the interest of truth

OpisMEDIJavanje – A guide to the news you release into your world!

OpisMEDIJavanje: Fake news often lurks in headlines

OpisMEDIJavanje: Kosovo Serb journalists perceived as unfriendly and irrelevant

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Preuzimanje i objavljivanje tekstova sa portala KoSSev nije dozvoljeno bez navođenja izvora. Hvala na poštovanju etike novinarske profesije.