Our Work In Action: Analysis and Insights

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Since the most recent invasion of Ukraine by Russia's armed forces on February 24, 2022, the International Republican Institute (IRI)’s Beacon Project has been analyzing online media data from multiple Central and Eastern European Countries to track aspects of key narratives that have the potential to erode support for Ukraine.

The reports are released every two weeks and cover trends in online media from Websites, Forums, Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Reddit related to three primary topics: Sanctions on Russia, Refugees, and NATO.

IRI’s Beacon project has established an initiative of 6 partners from Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania and Bulgaria to monitor how is the European Green Deal perceived in their countries, in which context local actors discuss the topics related to this policy package and what are the prevailing narratives spread by political actors, mainstream media as well as sources know for spreading of disinformation.

The Hungarian Media Landscape is dominated by pro-FIDESZ narratives mainly due to its dependency on Budapest funds. In the last three years, the Transylvanian Media Space Association received a grant of 20 million euros from the Hungarian government. Through the support  the association became by far the largest media trust in the Hungarian press in Transylvania. In the electoral campaign that officially started in February, we can see that the Transylvanian media space has significant coverage of FIDESZ and Viktor Orban’s electoral activity.

About 300.000 ballots were distributed by mail to Hungarian citizens who are residents of Romania prior to the April 3rd elections. Normally the bulletins should have been returned to the Hungarian Electoral Authority also via regular mail. However this has not always happened: a very visible information campaign over the last week encouraged the Hungarian citizens to avoid the regular (Romanian) postal services and use “alternatives” instead.