CeSID’s Project Fights for Resilience to Disinformation in Serbia

In 2021, IRI’s Beacon project supported initiative of the Center for Free Elections and Democracy (Serbia) contributing to the suppression of disinformation in the Serbian and regional public space. Research activities included a public opinion poll sounding perception of international actors and media content analysis of 11 Serbian mainstream online media and their coverage of international actors. The public campaign was designed based on research outcomes and aimed to raise awareness of citizens, especially youth, on disinformation and need for careful and critical consideration of everyday news regarding international actors and relations.

According to CeSID’s media monitoring research, propaganda and disinformation are widespread in traditional media in Serbia and a significant number of pro-Russian and pro-Chinese narratives that are often based on emotions or misleading or intentionally manipulated information are supported and promoted by politicians and particularly by the government. While media outlets’ reporting on international actors are generally balanced or even slightly negative when it comes to EU and USA, it is notably positive in case of Russia and China. Findings of content analysis and public opinion poll coincide greatly. Respondents in survey said that Serbia has best relations with Russia and China and that these two countries have predominantly positive influence on Serbia in comparison with EU and USA whose influence was seen mostly as negative. In addition, respondents more trust in “Eastern” science, medicine and vaccines and would rather borrow money from China than EU and IMF for infrastructural projects, and rather study and get treatment in Russia than in EU or USA.

Public opinion poll results: Public perceptions of the international position of Serbia
Understanding Causes, Creating Future: An Initiative for Building Resilience to Disinformation in Serbia
Building Awareness of Disinformation Concerning International Relations and Actors: Serbian Case Study