UPDATE: Serbian anonymous group takes the responsibility for the hoax. Here’s their letter to the public.
We are a non-profit, self-organized group of web activists.
The purpose of our activity is to bring to the attention of the Serbian public dangerous influence of the writer Dobrica Cosic, who has been, again this year, proclaimed by some as a serious contender for the Nobel Prize in Literature.
Dobrica Cosic, author and public political figure, active for decades, always close to the highest political power and those who exercise it, from the Communist Party of former SFRY, inspirators of their manifest of Serbian nationalism, infamous Memorandum of the Serbian Academy of sciences, former president of the Milosevic’s wartime SR Yugoslavia, to present alliance with reactionary and most dangerous Serbian pseudo-democratic circles in the new era.
We have registered the domain of this obviously hoax site on the 5th October 2011, as a symbolic reminder of that day eleven years ago, when Serbia missed a historic opportunity to create a different and better world. Today again, Serbia turns to war, terror and deadly kitsch of the nineties, violence towards diversity, nationalist conservatism and dishonest orthodoxy. We believe the political activity of Dobrica Cosic is still deeply intertwined with this hazardous value system, which does not cease to threaten us all.
Terrible consequences of decades of Mr. Cosic’s political, literary and public activity are felt to this day, both by his own country and throughout the region.
Dobrica Cosic is not a recipient of the Nobel Prize, although the general public in Serbia, and he himself, believed he is for 15 full minutes.
We find some solace in that fact.
“Dobrica Cosic gets the Nobel Literature prize” said nearly all Serbian media this morning, falling for the elaborate hoax created with this fake website. Website indeed looks like the real one, smells like the real but the links and the whois info blew the cover.
Still, many media published the info without checking, including B92, RTS, Radio S, to name only the bigger ones. I must admit I didn’t exclude the possibility of Cosic getting the prize at once, and even tweeted about it prior to checking the data. Why did the prank work so well? Well, there are several reasons.
1. Being first is the most important thing today. If some other media beats you to it, you might as well stop reporting altogether. Publish first, check facts later.
2. Serbs love beating the world in something, whether it’s a big thing like the Nobel prize or a small one, like the guy who discovered that the Facebook is tracking our cookies after we log out. He is Australian with Serbian roots, but still.
3. Cosic is himself very divisive personality, kind of like Peter Handke. Great writer, but very controversial political stands and statements. It was inevitable that also the opponents will, in disbelief, share this news as real.
Did you fall for the prank?
- Internet hoax has Serb writer as Nobel winner (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- A crazy Nobel year: Dylan, pranks and polls (telegraph.co.uk)