Analysis of the News: “Mirdita on Vidovdan in Belgrade”

Published on:

June 2024.

As part of the program Regional Initiative for combating disinformation “Western Balkans Combatting disinformation Center: Exposing malicious influences through fact-checking and Analytical Journalism“, we present you a new analysis of fake news and disinformation narratives.

Mirdita on Vidovdan in Belgrade

The Ministry of the Interior of Serbia banned broadcasting of the festival “Mirdita, good day!” for security reasons. The Minister of the Interior, Ivica Dacic, stated that the order was passed “because of the danger of jeopardizing the safety of people and property, as well as the danger of disrupting public order and peace on a larger scale.” The ban followed days after the event was presented in Serbian tabloids as a promotion of Kosovo’s independence and a provocation of the Serbian people.

The entire campaign against the festival allegedly started because the event will also take place on Vidovdan, and the organizers, after numerous attacks and pressures, decided to move all events scheduled for Vidovdan to June 29 for security reasons. However, that was not enough, the decision of the Ministry of the Interior banned the gathering, even though it was not held in a public space. On the day when the festival was supposed to be held, Thursday, June 27, about fifty young men gathered in front of the place where the festival was supposed to be held, preventing entry into that private space.

Thus ended the story of the “Mirdita, good day!” festival, which was targeted for days in the pro-government media and pro-Russian media as promoting the independence of Kosovo. The fact that the event was scheduled in the days around Vidovdan was characterized by many of the media as a symbolic humiliation of the Serbian people. Because of this, the organizers of the Youth Initiative for Human Rights also received threats.

“The purpose of that event is neither cultural dialogue nor the improvement of relations in the region, but rather the propagation of the independence of the southern Serbian province therefore it is logical that the holding of such a manifestation in our capital causes indignation among the citizens of Serbia.” The Mirdita good day festival is not an isolated provocation – but it is a significant illustration of the state in which Serbia is today – since it is still, for unknown reasons, a hostage to the idea of ​​European integration,” writes the Srbin info portal.

This media festival “Mirdita, good day!” is linked to efforts to keep Serbia on the path it embarked on “headlong in 2000,” despite “broader geopolitical changes clearly signaling that it is high time to steer in the opposite direction.”That cultural policy – in which “Mirdita, good day!” is held in Belgrade on Vidovdan – is distributed from those power centres that keep a part of our territory under military occupation and strive to disempower the Republika Srpska,” adds Srbin info.

It adds that it is, therefore, necessary to exert pressure by all available methods to stop “the approval of the violence of the minority over the majority, and of foreign embassies over the sovereignty of Serbia and the will of the majority of people who live in it”.

The text is dominated by anti-European narratives, xenophobia and intolerance towards the Albanian population in Kosovo. In addition, the text promotes polarization and divisions in society between true patriots and this other minority, which for the interests of the West and the powerful centres does “violence” against the majority. The European Union and the United States of America present themselves as actors who cross red lines and violate Serbian sovereignty.

Although the “Mirdita, good day!” festival has been uniting various right-wing organizations for a decade, for the first time this year the government is participating in it. Although once the highest state officials, those who still manage the country today, supported the festival and even formally opened it, now they ban it. We remind you that in 2015 the festival was opened by the then Minister of Culture in the government of Aleksandar Vučić, who said that “culture is here to help overcome mutual misunderstanding because it knows no borders.” Ten years later, the state of Serbia bans events that promote culture and multiculturalism and organizes events such as the All-Serbian Assembly.

Author: Sofija Popović