Anti-LGBT Sentiments Flourish Online in South-East Europe

On August 2, famous North Macedonian pop singer Vladimir Blazev, professionally known as Pancho DNK, wrote a Facebook post in which he claimed that during the celebration of the Republic Day or Ilinden national holiday, a historical song ‘Vo borba, vo borba’ was intentionally rewritten.

Blazev alleged that the singers who performed the song cut some key phrases that mention national hero Goce Delchev, whose historical legacy is still a source of dispute with neighbouring Bulgaria, as he is considered a national hero by both countries.

A further incident in North Macedonia on August 11 saw the popular Macedonian singer Vladimir Vlado Janevski being attacked on social media. The singer was targeted with hate speech comments and death threats from several social media users after the announcement that he would appear at the celebrations for the 20th anniversary of the Ohrid Framework Agreement, the peace deal of August 2001 which put an end to the armed conflict between the Macedonian security forces and the paramilitary Albanian National Liberation Army.

In Romania meanwhile, singer Florin Salam was the victim of false information online when StirileProTV, one of the most-read Romanian news websites, published a story saying that the singer had died in hospital after contracting COVID-19.

Salam responded: “No. I didn’t die. And unfortunately, such information is a blow to the credibility of Romanian media,” he wrote on Facebook.

In Bosnia meanwhile, actress Arma Tanovic Brankovic said that an unknown person created a fake profile of her underage daughter on Instagram on August 6. After she informed the police, the profile was soon shut down, and the suspects were identified.

Online deceptions and scams continue

Deceptions continued to occur online with worrying regularity in many countries. Hungary has recorded three different incidents of online fraud during the first half of August.