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News 19 Jul 17

Serbian Daily Faces Questions Over Anti-Feminist Rants

The venerable Serbian daily faces questions about its ethics after it was revealed that an op-ed attacking feminism - supposedly authored by scientist - was illustrated with the photograph of a German actor.

Filip Rudic
BIRN
Belgrade
Article signed by 'Velickovic' and illustrated with Kaufmann's picture. Photo: BIRN

Serbia's iconic daily newspaper, Politika, has been accused of using made-up commentators to promote misogyny after publishing an anti-feminist article allegedly written by a scientist, but illustrated with the photograph of a German actor.

The commentary accused feminists of using the recent murders of two women at the hands of their ex-husbands to spread "propaganda". 

"Agressive feminists came to the fore in order to abuse the tragedies for their political agenda," the article said, also reminding the readers that “almost all infanticides in the world are committed by women”.

The women in question were murdered at social centres where they were bringing their children to meet their fathers. In one horrifying case, the father murdered both child and mother.

The column in question was signed by “Dr Petar Velickovic", but the accompanying photograph is that of a German actor, Andreas Kaufmann, who has since called the article “disgusting”.

“I have nothing to do with any of the opinions mentioned in the article. The photo displayed is one of my casting photos I use as an actor in Germany. It's a case of theft and misuse," Kaufmann told BIRN.

The use and misuse of Kaufmann’s photo was uncovered by users of social networks, who have accused Politika of misogyny and of betraying journalistic and ethical standards.

In response to criticism, Politika published a brief explanation in Wednesday’s issue, saying that the fault lay with the author of the article, Petar Velickovic, who sent them Kaufmann’s photo instead of his own.

However, searches of the internet have yet to reveal a forensic psychiatrist under the name Petar Velickovic.

In the meantime, the Journalists’ Association of Serbia, has revealed another anti-feminist article in Politika, also attributed to a questionable scientific authority, using the photograph of a deceased person from Germany.

Milovan B Vucic, the alleged psychoanalyst from Los Angeles, wrote a comment entitled “Injustices of Feminist Judiciary“, published on May 5.

"This practice by Politika is reminiscent of Slobodan Milosevic’s reign, when the newspaper published made-up letters of support to the regime,” the Journalists' Association said in a press release.

Tamara Skrozza, from Serbia’s Press Council, said the views expressed in both articles constitute hate speech towards women and feminists, and should not be present in the media.

“It is truly terrible if Politika deliberately promotes discriminatory, chauvinist opinions,” Skrozza told BIRN.

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