Online War Over Mocking Video of Serbian Deputy PM

Online War Over Mocking Video of Serbian Deputy PM
Event date: 
Sun, 2014-02-02 14:15

A satirical video, showing Serbian Deputy Prime Minister using a drama in the snow to gain extra points in the coming elections, has been disappearing and reappearing on the internet.

A satirical video mocking Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, shown rescuing a young boy in a snowstorm, has been mysteriously disappearing from and reappearing on YouTube. 
While an Austrian-based firm KVZ Digital appears to have been taking it down, Serbs opposed to censorship have been busily putting it back.
The video was made by adding satirical subtitles to genuine original footage shot by the national broadcaster RTS on Saturday, which showed Vucic - who is tipped to become Prime Minister after the March 16 elections - rescuing a boy stuck in a snowstorm in the northern town of Feketic.
The subtitles suggest that the entire scene was filmed to win Vucic points in the forthcoming general elections.
"I do not want to go anywhere! I was just watching a cartoon when they [soldiers rescuing people] took me away," the boy allegedly tells Vucic in the video, to which he allegedly replies: "Don't bullshit, kiddo. This is because of the elections."
Vucic: I am glad the video made Serbia laugh
Deputy prime minister wrote on his Facebook profile on Sunday afternoon that he was glad that the video had made Serbia laugh.
He also denied censorship accusations. "That is complete nonsense," he said.
On Saturday, Vucic, also leader of the ruling Progressive Party, visited the scene where over 1,000 people were stranded on the highway from Novi Sad to Subotica, in northern Serbia.
He announced that more military and police helicopters were being sent to aid passengers cut off by deep snow for over 16 hours.
As Balkan Insight has learned from two independent sources, the RTS crew also left for Feketic in a state helicopter.
Nikola Mirkov, the head of RTS, told BIRN he had no idea what the mocking video was about nor who was requesting its withdrawal from YouTube.  
Experts condemn censorship on the internet
The journalists' association NUNS and NDNV, and Share Foundation have strongly condemned withdrawing of the video online. 
"Censorship on the Internet as a global network is not efficient, and often achieves the opposite effect because content which is being removed is getting great popularity (...) in the Internet community," the statement said.
Meanwhile, after the video first vanished from YouTube, many Serbs put up screen shots of the removed video as their Facebook profile pictures.
Numerous photoshopped pictures of Vucic have also flooded social networks, showing him as Superman, as Pamela Anderson in Baywatch, as Jesus Christ and as the Hulk., a satirical website, published an item declaring that February 1 had been officially declared a Day of Mockery in Serbia.
The tabloid Kurir, widely seen as a mouthpiece of the government, responded to the wave of ridicule with an article entitled "It is easy to criticise from a warm room".
The article ironically cited ten things Vucic could have done instead of saving a child. These included: drinking, watching a tennis match and holding party meetings.
Author: Bojana Barlovac, Source: BalkanInsight, BURN, Belgrade