Tracing the Chechen Trace (updated version)
On Nov 17, 2000 Prague Watchdog published article Tracing the Chechen Trace on world media coverage of a hijack of a Russian airliner flying from Makhachkala to Moscow, which happened on Nov 11-12.
The purpose of the article was to find out how world media are vulnerable to existing biases, patterns and sometimes even myths. In this case a lot of media were prompt to find a link between the hijack and fighting in Chechnya. In the most extreme cases of misreporting, some media identified the kidnapper(s) as a group of Chechen Islamists wishing to help Palestinians with their uprising.
On Nov 28, 2000 Interfax informed that a court expert's report declared the hijacker, who was in fact from Dagestan and acted on his own, insane and suffering from schizofrenia. Prague Watchdog will keep monitoring the case.