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Are Croat nationalists pushing a political agenda on Wikipedia? – Aljazeera.com

Summary

In March, a group of Bosnian historians and political scientists decided to expand the Bosnian-language pages on Wikipedia.

But as they began adding entries about the history of Bosnia and Herzegovina or Bosnian people using credible, academic sources, they quickly found that much of their work was being deleted by the administrators – sometimes within seconds.

Sometimes, pages were heavily edited, and errors had been slipped in.

Jahja Muhasilovic, one of the academics …….

In March, a group of Bosnian historians and political scientists decided to expand the Bosnian-language pages on Wikipedia.

But as they began adding entries about the history of Bosnia and Herzegovina or Bosnian people using credible, academic sources, they quickly found that much of their work was being deleted by the administrators – sometimes within seconds.

Sometimes, pages were heavily edited, and errors had been slipped in.

Jahja Muhasilovic, one of the academics behind the initiative, told Al Jazeera that his group found widespread inaccuracies relating to Bosnian nationality and ethnicity on the site, but when they attempted to address it, admins banned their accounts without explanation.

By May, three of five of their accounts were banned.

They noticed that admins would change the details of figures who had their nationality listed as Bosnian to characterise them instead as Bosniak, Croat or Serb, according to Muhasilovic, a professor of international relations at the International University of Sarajevo.

“It’s absurd. Your nationality can’t be Bosniak, Serb or Croat [if you’re from] Bosnia and Herzegovina. Your nationality goes by your passport … ‘Bosnian’ would be the nationality,” Muhasilovic said. “[Similarly] if you’re from Canada, you can’t put your nationality as English or French; you’re Canadian by nationality.”

In another example of the apparent meddling, an article on “Bosnianhood” written by a political scientist was deleted.

“Bosnianhood exists as an academic idea. There are people and institutes who promote this in Bosnia,” Muhasilovic, said. “It’s very indicative that they deleted this specific article.”

Famous Bosnian writers of Bosniak ethnicity would be incorrectly labelled as Serb or Croat – changes that also take place on the English-language Wikipedia site.

The group noticed entries relativised historical facts on Serb and Croat convicted war criminals and massacres committed against Bosniaks in Bosnia from 1992 to 1995 on the Bosnian-language Wikipedia.

The group of academics says it is a case of “systematic anti-Bosnian propaganda” used to “discredit Bosnian history and identity”.

“Later when we analysed their edits, we saw that they’re forcing Croatian nationalism through the Bosnian Wikipedia page,” said Muhasilovic.

“[The admins] are people who would like to divide Bosnia in three parts – Bosniak, Serb and Croat – in the interests of Serbia and Croatia.”

Wikimedia Foundation spokeswoman Samantha Lien told Al Jazeera that the academics’ concerns will be shared with volunteers for Bosnian Wikipedia for their evaluation.

“Volunteers will evaluate potential issues and determine if action is needed to address it – …….

Source: https://www.aljazeera.com/features/2021/8/5/organised-disinformation-campaign-behind-croatian-wikipedia