22 July 2021
There is a heated debate ongoing in the Czech Republic concerning threats stemming from disinformation and hostile foreign propaganda. There are many clear cases where conspiracy theories were widely spread in the information space, demonstrating the seriousness of these disinformation activities in the Czech information space.
These include rumours that the 2014 demonstrations against President Miloš Zeman were organised by the American Embassy; the so-called “Lithium Affair” that targeted the Social Democratic Party prior the Parliamentary elections in 2017; as well as various conspiracies and smear campaigns attacking candidates prior the presidential election in 2018.
Although research has shown that Czech society is probably aware of this threat, it is, unfortunately, not immune to it. An opinion poll conducted in 2019 by the Institute of Empirical Research STEM and organisation Transitions showed that only 25 per cent of the respondents were able to identify whether a sample article upholds journalistic standards.
Another research published in the same year by agency Nielsen Admosphere for NFNZ (Endowment Fund of Independent Journalism) showed that 27 per cent of the respondents were more or less convinced that migration from Muslim countries to Europe was organised by the European Union.