The Center for the Study of Democracy (CSD) in partnership with the International Republican Institute's Beacon Project monitored a content from online media outlets for the two months leading up to the Bulgarian election that took place on April 4.
The primary aim of the monitoring was to assess the key topics, narratives and sentiments appearing in online news outlets reflecting Bulgaria’s relations with NATO, the EU, Russia and China.
Throughout the election monitoring period between February 01 and April 09, 2021, the research team collected over 55,000 articles referencing the EU, NATO, Russia or China, from some 150 online media outlets. A sample of over 5,000 articles were reviewed and tagged for their conveyance of narratives regarding relations with one of the four geopolitical actors, the international stances of political figures, as well as contextual sub-topics related to domestic politics.
The EU received the most coverage out of the four, with a mostly neutral tone based on the reviewed articles. Russia came in second with a predominantly positive (54%) portrayal in the reviewed articles. China, which was the third most covered, garnered more supportive than opposing views, but not on the level of Russia. NATO was the least mentioned and with the most opposing coverage (23%).