Local Media Outlets Exaggerate Statements by Croatian Model

AKEED, Wasfi Khushman

Media outlets and social media users have exaggerated a post written in Italian by a Croatian model, in which she recounted some situations, which she considered as bad, during a short visit to Jordan. Electronic sites devoted a lot of space to the post of the model, which exceeded 1,000 words, without citing another opinion. They used headlines, such as:

Italian Model Launches Scathing Attack on Jordanians…What Did She Say About Them?

Italian Model Nina Moric Attacks Jordanians: Nightmare that Will Not Be Repeated

In Pictures…Who Is the Italian Model Who Criticized Exploiting Her in Jordan?

On the other hand, some media outlets reported on what the model wrote, in addition to the viewpoint of the Ministry of Tourism, which formed an inquiry committee that concluded that the model "got prices within the normal range and less than the orders and advantages that she received."

The common mistake that most media committed involved the name and nationality of the model. Her name is Nina Moric and her nationality is Croatian, and not Italian or Russian, as at least one website reported.

Some reports also confused the Swiss franc with the French franc although the latter has not been in circulation since adopting the euro as a unified currency for the EU in 1999.

A few days after her post generated interactions, a website quoted the model as saying that she had received 10,000 messages via Facebook from Jordanians apologizing for what she faced, which made her think of visiting Jordan again.

The post generated greater interactions on social media. Jordanian users supported what the model posted, while others considered it a "setback to the tourism sector." Some pages described what the model faced as "fraud." However, some users wondered why the model did not lodge an official complaint about what she faced. Besides, she did not name the hotel at which she stayed.

Going back to what the Croatian model, Nina Moric, posted on her page, which has more than 300,000 followers, her post, dated 18 August, generated around 4,000 interactions, 13 shares, and 680 comments. The comments, which were mostly in Italian, supported her, with some containing hate speech toward Arabs and non-Europeans in general. Meanwhile, a number of commentators opposed her and confirmed that they had "positive experiences" during their visits to Jordan. They criticized the "generalizations" that she used.

Other comments indicated that taking advantage of tourists was not confined to a particular country, while others criticized what they deemed as her ignorance and visiting a country before knowing the procedures to get a visa, the value of its currency, and the prices of hotels and services in it. Some comments ridiculed her Italian language and reminded her of her Croatian nationality.

The Jordanian Media Credibility Monitor (AKEED) noticed that some Jordanian commentators replied to the post of the model. One of them is Zuhair Sayaheen, a tour guide who studied and lived in Italy for many years. He replied that what the model paid at the airport and hinted that it was a "bribe" was in fact the value of the fee for the visa. He demanded that the model prove what she claimed by posting hotel and restaurant bills to show the amounts that she said she had paid. The model did not react.

AKEED contacted Sayaheen, who said that he is "a good follower of the Italian media, which did not pay any attention to the post of the model, despite the fact that it constitutes juicy material for it, especially concerning her views of immigrants." He added that Moric's post was given too much importance, noting that there is a menu at every hotel and restaurant and she should have checked it before ordering food.

AKEED also contacted Ahmad Masaeed, another commentator who teaches Arabic at a school in northern Italy. He said that he did not notice Italian media interest in the post of Moric, who is famous for speaking about immigrants and foreigners all the time.

According to Wikipedia, Nina Moric is a Croatian model, born in Zagreb on 22 July 1976. She became a professional model in 1996. Wikipedia says that Moric is known for her far-right and racist views. In 2017, she expressed interest in a neo-Nazi movement. Last June, she took part in a neo-Nazi rally against immigration and the right of the soil.

In August, The Independent reported that "Moric was one of those who posted a picture of the U.S. actor Samuel L. Jackson and the retired basketball player Magic Johnson as two immigrants embarking on an extravagant shopping spree with money paid by Italians to the Italian Government. However, she later realized her mistake and said that her post was part of a social experiment on immigrants in Italy."

The AKEED Monitor thinks that media outlets exaggerated the content of the post of the model and reported it without sufficient scrutiny. Many of them relied on electronic translations. They should have ignored it or published it after contacting the model and inquiring from her about the details of what she mentioned and seeking replies from the Ministry of Tourism, Jordan Tourism Board, or Public Security Directorate.