After almost every election or referendum which has occurred in Western countries during the past few years, suspicions have arisen that certain states (namely the Russian Federation) have tried to secretly intervene and manipulate the results. A common technique involves spreading disinformation, half-truths, and hoaxes through websites or social networks. In this context, it would not be surprising if Czech websites known to be spreading disinformation tried to influence the European Parliament elections. That is why PSSI’s project has aimed to observe news and articles published on Czech websites known to spread disinformation during the election campaign and to evaluate who they support and how they support them.
The analysis focused on myths about the European Union published in the year 2018 (from January 1, 2018 to January 31, 2019). Researchers monitored 39 websites known to be spreading disinformation. The data-gathering was conducted using the >versus< media monitoring tool, developed by the Beacon Project of the International Republican Institute.
During the analyzed period, these websites published 15,543 texts mentioning the EU, meaning that every tenth published article mentioned the EU. However, other terms related to international politics were mentioned more often: Russia was in 28,396 texts and the USA in 20,879 texts. In comparison, Czech politicians were mentioned less often (President Miloš Zeman in 10,834 texts and Prime Minister Andrej Babiš in 13,345 texts). The EU was often mentioned in relation to migration, Russia, or Brexit. Six myths, which the analysis described in detail, appeared in 3,600 texts (almost every fourth article related to the EU).
To see the full report, click here.