On February 17, online edition Saqinformi published an article titled “Belgium Introduced Criminal Prosecution for Propagating a Traditional Family and a Heterosexual Orientation”. The article mentions that through the law, adopted by the parliament, Belgium became the first country in the world to prosecute the propagation of traditional family values. The law, according to the article, envisages particularly stringent punishments for a parent that “commits” the act of propagating traditions in relation to his/her child.
The source of the information, published by Saqinformi, is a satirical Russian edition. Panorama.pub, a satirical edition, published an article on introducing criminal prosecution for propagating family values on February 14, 2020. The article by Saqinformi does not indicate the nature or the source of the information, misleading the readers to believe that the information is true.
The story about criminalizing the propaganda of traditional values was first published by the satirical edition panorama.pub on February 14, 2020. The edition’s website includes a statement about its mission, which mentions that it is a humorous edition.
“Warning: All materials given on panorama.pub are satire or fiction. Any coincidences of panorama.pub’s texts and actual individuals do not aim to harm anyone’s dignity or pride, or inflict damage on professional reputation, as all materials of panorama.pub are satirical feuilletons.”
The edition’s satirical nature is also indicated on its logo.
Other Russian news agencies such as kolibri.press, mediabrest.bu, 7dniv.info, twnews.co.ua also disseminated the material published by panorama.pub.
Showcasing satirical-humorous made up stories as real news
Showcasing satirical-humorous made up stories as real news is one of the methods of propaganda. Using this method, tabloids and propagandist editions try to establish the opinion that the Western society is characterized by phenomena such as ignorance towards traditions and values, zoophilia, necrophilia etc.
Myth Detector has written about made up stories earlier as well:
- How somebody else’s satire became Sputnik’s news;
- Kissinger’s interview about the USSR is fake and Progressnews disseminated it based on a Russian satirical edition;
- Disinformation about Jimmy Olsen allegedly attempting to rape an alligator;
- Geworld’s photo manipulations and disinformation about raping a mummy and a wax figure.
Prepared by Ani Kistauri
Member of the Media Literacy Lab’s Regional Network