Original article (in Montenegrin) was published on 20/10/2023; Author: Jelena Jovanović
Sports events always come with intense excitement, strong emotions, and a fierce drive for victory among both players and fans, especially when it comes to national team competitions.
During a recent soccer match between Serbia and Montenegro in Belgrade, there were some scattered scuffles in the stands, but overall, the atmosphere remained friendly.
However, things took a different turn on social media, where some users crossed the line by provoking inter-ethnic intolerance and spreading inaccurate information, leading to hate speech.
A Facebook post claimed, “Montenegro fans are wearing Ustasha symbols. Unfortunately, they like those from beyond Cavtat [a Croatian town close to the Montenegrin border] better so they wear their checkerboard [symbol].
Luckily, there is not a lot of them, which the Montenegrin census will show.”
This post featured a screenshot of a woman at the match wearing the alleged “Ustasha symbol”. Ustashas were Croatian fascist and ultranationalist organization active between 1929 and 1945. The name is also used colloquially to refer to the Croatian fighters during the wars of the 1990s. The screenshot came from a video originally posted on Bunt_cg’s Instagram profile, along with the following caption:
“They’re wondering why am I not rooting for Montenegro. How could I be cheering alongside those that are more fond of Croatia than Serbia, those who wear their checkerboards, the letter “U” and a patch with logo 95 that evokes the persecution of Serbs in “Operation Storm”…”
Operation Storm was a Croatian military offensive in which hundreds of Serbs were killed and an estimated 200,000 displaced.
The video, taken at the “Marakana” stadium during the Serbia-Montenegro match, was widely shared on social networks and media.
However, the girl in the video was not wearing Ustasha symbols or a checkerboard with Storm symbols and the letter “U” as falsely claimed. Instead, she was wearing a “Dsquared2” jacket, a brand whose label is visible on various clothing items and accessories.
Additionally, the jacket didn’t have the letter “U” but the D2 logo, along with the numbers 95 and 64, which are also part of the same brand, Dsquared2.
Examining the logo, it becomes clear that the claim about the patch representing the Ustasha flag is false, as the colors follow a red-first sequence, not the white-first pattern associated with the Ustasha movement.
Due to an evident manipulation of facts and the spread of a false narrative, this content is rated as fake news.
The “Fake News” label is applied to original media reports that contain entirely false claims and are created and spread with the intent to misinform the public.