Original article (in Bosnian) was published on 07/11/2022
The narrative according to which foreign countries are working to “destroy” the Republic of Srpska and/or Milorad Dodik, the newly elected president of this BiH entity, is often published in numerous media, including on public service.
Claims about “coloured revolutions”, “a plan to destroy the Republic of Srpska”, or a plan to “overthrow” Milorad Dodik, the newly elected president of the RS, are often published in the local media.
This rhetoric is frequent, especially during the election period, when, as a rule, the opposition in the Republic of Srpska is incorrectly, without any facts, linked to “plans for the demolition of Dodik”.
One of the recent examples of such a conspiracy theory is a column published on October 11, 2022, on the Serbian web portal Pravda, in which Dzevad Galijasevic repeats several proven fake news about Jelena Trivic to prove his thesis that “Americans are organising protests” in Banja Luka. We wrote about the incorrect statements from Galijasevic’s column here.
Remember that Trivic was an opposition candidate for the President of the RS in the 2022 General Elections. Publicly and privately owned media from the RS published various misinformation about Jelena Trivic, which built a narrative in which she is presented as a “foreign mercenary”.
Galijasevic repeated similar claims in an interview published by Faktor magazine on October 21, 2022, titled:
Milorad Dodik’s safety is seriously threatened
In the article, Galijasevic repeats the claims that the opposition is connected to the secret services of numerous European and world governments, that a coloured revolution threatens the RS, and that, ultimately, Milorad Dodik’s life is in danger.
The opposition in the Republic of Srpska is, in fact, the opposition to the Republic of Srpska, and it does not think for itself because most of their leaders and candidates, alleged political actors, represent an intelligence project of the American, British or German secret services.
Coming to power at any cost and even against the will of citizens and voters in the Republic of Srpska. This was attempted with a false declaration of victory, then with an illegal new vote count, and in the end, the option of a “coloured revolution” with a coup d’état, the collapse of institutions and the complete destruction of the state-forming substance of the Republic of Srpska.
A particularly worrying fact is that there are, on the outside, many structures of the political West interested in preventing Milorad Dodik from his further political activity at any cost. Experience tells us that the measures taken by the West in such cases are not only political or economic measures, and they are not limited only to this person. Milorad Dodik’s safety is seriously threatened, and his life is in danger.
The publisher of the Faktor magazine is AD Media, whose founder, among others, is Alternative Television (ATV). Stating that ATV media is privately owned by a company closely related to Milorad Dodik, the US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on this media in 2022, which is one of the frequent sources of conspiracy theories and fake news about the overthrow of Dodik and/or the RS.
From May 2018 to October 2022, in a total of 12 analyses, Raskrinkavanje thematised conspiracy theories about alleged plans for a “colored revolution” whose goal is “to overthrow Dodik”.
Through the aforementioned 12 texts, 123 articles published in the same number of media were analysed.
In seven examples, the sources of fake news and conspiracy theories about plans to “overthrow” Dodik were media from Serbia (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7). Most often, these are the tabloids Alo and Informer, which are often pointed out in public discourse as being close to Aleksandar Vucic, the president of Serbia. Alo was the source in two cases, Infomer in two, and Vecernje novosti and Pravda in one instance. Almost all of these fake news and conspiracy theories would soon be broadcast by the media from the RS, most often the Radio and Television of the Republic of Srpska (RTRS) and the News Agency of the RS (Srna), and then ATV. Media from the RS were the source of such claims four times in the analyses we evaluated (1, 2, 3, 4).
The Montenegrin web portal IN4S was also the source of one of the more prominent conspiracy theories – that NATO is planning the kidnapping of Milorad Dodik. This news, which, like all those mentioned in the analysis, was published without any foundation in facts, was reported by RTRS and Srna, and then by numerous other media in the RS. Read more in Raskrinkavanje’s analysis available on this link.
These two public media, RTRS and Srna, repeatedly broadcast fake news and conspiracy theories about the “overthrow” of Dodik during this period. In four years, neither RTRS nor Srna have ever published corrections to incorrect statements, whether they originally published them or were shared after writing by other media.
A never-ending story
In all the cases mentioned, it is obvious that the incorrect claim that foreign countries and their military intelligence services are somehow “bringing down” Dodik and the RS through the alleged planning of kidnappings and revolutions is repeated over and over again as part of the political narrative.
Narratives about alleged conspiracies against Dodik and/or SNSD have been promoted for years by the media and political actors who portray themselves as targets of such conspiracies, which our partner web portal Istinomjer has written about on several occasions (for example, you can check texts from 2015 and 2016). Their goal is, above all, to discredit political opponents, which is especially evident in the pre-election period. Fake news about the demolition of Dodik and the RS is spread even during “crisis” periods, for instance, during the mass gatherings of Justice for David.
In all such examples, there is no evidence that someone is preparing any revolution or devising plans in general which would lead to a change of government in the RS. It is mainly about unnamed sources that are used as an alibi for the publication of disinformation, the credibility of which is constantly denied as time passes. No valid evidence has ever appeared in public that anyone is planning to overthrow the government and/or Dodik. Still, articles with such claims, on the other hand, continue being published, almost as a rule, in the same media.