Misinformation wars over gas prices in Bosnia

People in Bosnia and Herzegovina are protesting rising gas prices with daily one-hour road blocks. Government officials respond by lying.

Tijana Cvjeticanin
Tijana Cvjeticanin Istinomjer, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Source: Istinomjer
Misinformation wars over gas prices in Bosnia - NewsMavens
Refuel, PixaBay

Why this story matters:

In an attempt to pacify angry car owners in Republika Srpska (BiH), President Milorad Dodik claimed that gas prices in Republika Srpska are 10% lower than in the Federation of BiH (the other entity in Bosnia), 43% lower compared to Croatia, 65% lower than in Italy, and so on.

This inaccurate claim was spiced up with the ridiculous statement that “Compared with Italy and Croatia, here you get one free liter for every three liters you buy.”

The entity's news agency also stepped in to support the story, publishing a separate claim that Republika Srpska has the cheapest gas in Europe, priced at 1 euro per liter. Both statements are clearly false.  

It’s interesting to note that the "protest camp" had its own signature misinformation as well, albeit unrelated to the prices. A photograph purporting to show a similar protest in Germany started to spread on social networks earlier in May:

“More than a million people abandoned their cars and the government was forced to lower the gas price. When people are smart, the corrupt can’t get their way”, reads the description of a photo -- which in reality shows a massive traffic jam in China.

"It might be false, but it's a good idea," reads one of the comments from the article where the picture was debunked.  

Drivers, of course, are too familiar with the real prices to actually believe the government's spin. The protests started on June 10 and now happen every day between 17-18 in dozens of cities throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina, but also in neighbouring Serbia and Montenegro. 

Details from the story:

  • The price of gas in Bosnia averages 1.18 Euro, which is higher than the price in 12 other European countries.
  • The price in Republika Srpska averages 1.14 Euro - higher than the price in 8 European countries.
  • When the prices are compared to average wages, the cost is even higher.
  • One average wage can get you:
    • 366 l of diesel fuel in Republika Srpska
    • 394 l of diesel fuel in Montenegro, and
    • 618 l of diesel fuel in Croatia.

Project #Femfacts co-financed by European Commission Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology as part of the Pilot Project – Media Literacy For All

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