Internet hoax has Serb writer as Nobel winner

Swedish poet and author Tomas Transtroemer smiles during a press conference in his home after he was awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize in literature, at their home in Stockholm, Sweden, Thursday, Oct. 6, 2011. The 2011 Nobel Prize in literature was awarded on Thursday to Tomas Transtromer of Sweden, whose surrealistic works about the mysteries of the human mind won him wide recognition as the most influential Scandinavian poet of recent decades.
FREDRIK SANDBERG | AP
Swedish poet and author Tomas Transtroemer smiles during a press conference in his home after he was awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize in literature, at their home in Stockholm, Sweden, Thursday, Oct. 6, 2011. The 2011 Nobel Prize in literature was awarded on Thursday to Tomas Transtromer of Sweden, whose surrealistic works about the mysteries of the human mind won him wide recognition as the most influential Scandinavian poet of recent decades.
Posted Oct. 06, 2011, at 8:09 p.m.
Last modified Oct. 07, 2011, at 9:51 a.m.

BELGRADE, Serbia — The Internet hoax about this year’s Nobel Literature Prize was slick, and down fell the victims: Serbian TV, radio and the state-run news agency.

Moments before the Swedish Academy announced this year’s winner — Swedish poet Tomas Transtromer — on Thursday, unknown hackers said on what looked like an official Nobel Prize website that it was Serbian writer Dobrica Cosic.

The site included a photo of the 90-year-old Cosic, quotations from one of his books, and a description heralding him as “the last dissident of the 20th century, witness of a declining era, as well as the prophet of an emerging one.”

In today’s instant news markets, the false info quickly appeared on Serbian outlets, including Belgrade’s B-92 radio and TV and the state-run news agency.

“Someone has really tried hard to carry out the elaborate hoax,” B-92 said after withdrawing the news from its programs.

The Serbian writer is popular among his countrymen, but he’s also considered a proponent of the hardline Serbian nationalism which led to the bloody breakup of the former Yugoslavia in 1990s’.

Cosic briefly served as the president of rump Yugoslavia — consisting of Serbia and Montenegro — in 1992 when he was hand-picked by late Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic.

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