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Parliamentary elections took place in Romania on 6 December 2020. The Bucharest-based Global Focus Center, in cooperation with IRI’s Beacon Project, monitored online and social media to examine the prevalence of toxic narratives in the political discourse in the election period. Using the Pulsar media monitoring tool, researchers followed dozens of outlets as well as social media pages of prominent political players over the course of several weeks.

The Prague Security Studies Institute (PSSI) has completed a study of the effects of COVID-19 on the disinformation ecosystem in the Czech Republic using the >versus< tool. PSSI studied the ways in which COVID-19 has been used to drive certain conspiracy theories and false narratives on different social media platforms. The results of the study can be found in the attached document.

The second round of the Lithuanian general election concluded this past Oct 25th, 2020 resulting in the center-right Homeland Union- Lithuanian Christian Democrats (TS-LKD) returning to power after 8 years. In the run-up to the elections, the Vilnius Institute for Policy Analysis, with support from the International Republican Institute’s Beacon Project, conducted media monitoring of online news portals to identify potentially disruptive narratives being spread in the media environment.

Extensive online media monitoring ahead of the June 2020 Serbian parliamentary elections exposed an overwhelming imbalance in media coverage of political actors. Government officials received significantly more netural to positive coverage by monitored media, while opposition figures were marginalized and when covered the prevailing tone was negative. President Aleksandar Vučić was by far the most frequent and most positive actor presented in the media, multiple times more so then the next most frequent - Prime Minister Ana Brnabić. While the majority of monitored articles were neutral, monitoring findings demonstrated a substantial lack of contentious topics. Most notable was the lack of coverage of contentious topics during the state of emergency that following the initial Covid-19 outbreak in Serbia. Online media did little to encourage informed debate ahead of the elections. Rather than asking questions media largely turned to promoting and amplifying government messages and retaliation against dissenting or critical voices. For the complete study download the document attached.