Original title: The Army on the Street: Is a curfew being prepared throughout Macedonia?
Using the information that the military will be deployed to provide medical support to health facilities and centers, the portal speculates with a click-bait headline that a curfew will be imposed.
On November 5th, the Republika portal published a news item with a click-bait headline, with elements of disinformation – The Army on the Street: Is a curfew being prepared in Macedonia?. On the front page of the text is a photo from April 2020, in which soldiers bring order to Prilep, while the content of the text conveys an order issued by President Pendarovski to engage part of the army in peacetime when no crisis, emergency or military condition has been declared. According to the order, the army will have to deploy some of its forces and resources as unarmed forces to carry out tasks to support state institutions in dealing with the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.
Although the portal correctly transmits the content of the order, as stated in a statement from the president’s office, still, what makes this article disinformative and manipulative is the title. Namely, the author of the text presents incorrect information that allegedly the army is already on the street, and even encloses an old photo with soldiers on the street. It creates even more confusion among the public by the fact that the title also contains the question of whether a curfew is being prepared, which is speculation.
In fact, these are activities of the Army of the Republic of North Macedonia, which in the past on the same legal basis was engaged in removing the consequences of natural disasters and supporting state institutions in peacetime. However, the portal uses this information to cause fear and panic among the citizens, and in fact the army helps in the fight against the coronavirus. This practice is not unknown in other countries. Thus, the testing of 3.5 million citizens in two days in Slovakia, about which so much was written in our country, was conducted with the assistance of the army, police, and firefighters.
The pandemic has become fertile ground for all kinds of disinformation. Disinformation of this kind affects the psychological moment of the citizens, which is especially dangerous in this period when all mankind is facing restrictive measures to protect and deal with the coronavirus.
This project was funded in part through a U.S. Embassy grant. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed herein are those of the implementers/authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Government.