By Brian Gallagher
International Lawyer Luka Misetić has submitted a complaint to the International Fact-Checking Network regarding an article that has appeared on Croatian ‘fact-checking’ website Faktograf.hr. The article, ‘What really happened at Blieburg’ (in Croatian) by Stefan Guževa, ‘fact-checked’ an item on the Blieburg Tragedy that appeared on Croatian TV’s ‘TV Kalendar’, a well-known history TV series. The TV Kalendar item was in fact broadcast back in 2013, and recently circulated on social media. It is fair to say that the Faktograf.hr article’s tone was not terribly sympathetic to the victims of the communist crimes committed.
The complaint, initially sent to Faktograf.hr, is detailed and makes a number of points. These including pointing out that a line the article critiqued did not even appear in the programme. Possibly the strangest aspect of the article was the assertion that the Blieburg Tragedy was known about in communist Yugoslavia – this will come as surprise to a great many people. It is very well known that the matter was kept secret. The article based its claim on numbers of surrendered being published in the official communist organ ‘Borba’ in 1964. As Misetić points out, “Is Faktograf.hr really asserting that because Borba in 1964 wrote that 221,287 collaborationist soldiers were “captured,” the “wider public” was aware as early as 1964 that Yugoslav partisan and communist forces executed tens of thousands of prisoners of war and civilians after the war? Faktograf.hr thinks “capturing” soldiers is the same as “executing” them?”
Misetić received a response from Faktograf.hr, which he found to be inadequate and consequently he has referred the matter to the International Fact-Checking Network.
The complaint is well worth reading in full.
It can be seen/downloaded as a pdf (English): Complaint to Faktograf
Faktograf’s reply (Croatian) can be seen here.
Luka Misetić’s response to that, and his decision to proceed to the International Fact-Checking Network can seen/downloaded as a pdf (English): Complaint to Faktograf (Reply)
This issue has another aspect to all this. Users on Facebook, that have linked to the documentary on the documentary, ‘Bleiburg: Tito’s License for Genocide‘ by director Nikola Knez have had a tag attached to it either claiming ‘partly false’ or false news. Attached to the post is a link to Factograf.hr’s article. One post so tagged was on the Catholic Karmelićani Facebook page here. These tags, curiously, appeared at much the same time as the appearance of the Faktograf.hr item.
This is quite concerning. Knez’s documentary won film festival awards and the director was interviewed by the popular English Croatian news site Total Croatia News. It is not some fringe product. The Faktograf.hr article makes no reference to the documentary. There is no explanation whatsoever as to why it has been tagged. What kind of fact-checking is this? Who then, are Faktograf.hr to determine what is and what is not true? Especially in regard to an issue such as Blieburg that was repressed and kept secret by the Yugoslav communist authorities for decades?