Friday, February 02, 2007

Article: Bosnia's Messy Politics

From the Economist. A short, but rather sobering article.


Daniel said...

Same old, same old, exactly.

That's why I avoid reading Bosnian news or news about Bosnia. It's always same old, same old.

I rather prefer to read your, rather refreshing, blog. It's fun and interactive.

Shaina said...


Owen said...

Shaina, the Economist does not have a particularly trustworthy record on the Balkans.

Joan Hoey/Phillips is a senior editor/economist in the Economist suubsidiary the Economist Intelligence Unit's Eastern Europe team in London, reponsible for covering political and economic developements in Romania and "with a wider interest in" the former communist Balkans, especially Romania, Bulgaria and former Yugoslavia.

She joined the Economist Intelligence Unit in 1995. She has worked as the Economist Intelligence Unit's Balkans analyst and in 1996 was referred to as their Bosnia analyst.

She is an associate of the LM group and wrote articles for LM Magazine during the 1990s denying Serb nationalist atrocities.

Ed Vulliamy referred to Hoey and her Economist Intelligence Unit colleague Laza Kekic in his Guardian article "Poison in the Well of History", about LM's attempt to impugn the honesty of the journalists who reported the atrocities at Omarska and Trnopolje.

"As is by now well-known, Living Marxism has become adept at finding or placing supporters in what it regards as influential positions in the media. This is all perfectly above board: the Times was desperate enough to offer LM's editor, Mick Hume, his own column. The signatories of LM's letters are familiar bylines across Fleet Street. But the pivot of Living Marxism's activities in the mainstream is, for some reason, the Economist Intelligence Unit, which has at times, backstage, been torn asunder by arguments over key positions held by the group's leading members.

Two of these are a Serb called Laza Kekic, the author of some of the most virulent attacks on the "bloody liberals", and Joan Phillips, who also works under the name Joan Hoey. This is the text of an email that came my way from Kekic to Hoey, written after the Nato bombardment of 1995 that produced the Dayton agreement:

"The Serbs have come back from far more difficult moments in the past. In the meantime, should accept and swallow a lot and consolidate what's left. Can even do Eurospeak and fluff on about the Balkan peace and co-operation in the meantime. Then, at some future date, the obliteration of the Muslims, the Albanians, and last of all the Croats. That's my perspective. And there's little else left to say'.

Indeed there isn't. The message was sent from Kekic's electronic address at the Economist Intelligence Unit on September 14, 1995, at 10.11am. Others in the series of emails involve chatter about gainful contact with David Owen and friendly journalists at the BBC and Observer.",2763,184815,00.html

Bg anon said...

Owen do you really think that this argument - which stems from the Trnopolje Vulliamy / LM one has bearing on economist reporting of the region?

I suppose I mean are there any examples of biased reporting from the Economist?

Owen said...

Until I gave up reading it years ago the Economist relied on the work of a lot of opinionated analysts who reflected an international consensus rather than reality on the ground. When the international consensus was right they got by, when it wasn't they were taken by surprise. That's why I stopped paying attention to it.

The Hoey/Kekic episode was pretty scandalous. I don't know how Hoey survived at the EIU while she was writing her articles for LM and after LM lost the libel action but she did. The fact that she's still employed by the EIU as a senior Balkans analyst (specialising now in Bulgaria) makes me unwilling to believe that the Economist's quality control has improved.

Owen said...

And the article Shaina quotes is itself an example of the sort of writing that made me give up reading the Economist - shallow, glib, cliche-ridden.

Yakima_Gulag said...

And talk about over-priced!