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The campaign for the presidential election already began on disinformation websites

At the beginning of December 2017, the Prague Security Studies Institute (PSSI) launched the project: the Czech election in the era of disinformation, with the aim of describing articles published on Czech disinformation websites during the presidential election campaign. The findings of the projects can be found on the PSSI website or the PSSI social media platforms on Facebook and Twitter. The analysis of the findings for December 2017, which was published today, can be found here.

At present, after the first month of research, initial conclusions can be made. “The election campaign has become one of the most frequent topics mentioned on disinformation platforms. While at the beginning of the past month the candidates were mentioned rather with connection to the general political situation (that raised the number of references about the current president Miloš Zeman), the following weeks described events connected to election campaign,” said Jonáš Syrovátka, PSSI project coordinator. 

Due to prior experience with the first direct Presidential Elections in 2013, it is therefore plausible to expect that the election campaign will be fierce in 2018. However, this is not the case for the disinformation platforms currently. “Although we already witnessed disinformation aiming to influence the election campaign at the beginning of December (which claimed that George Soros is financing the opponents of current President, Miloš Zeman), the platforms that are analysed mostly described candidates without any positive or negative sentiments. The current President, Miloš Zeman, was supported by the notorious disinformation website Aeronet, and by Petr Hájek, the redactor in chief of the disinformation website Protiproud, but in total, the number of positive and negative references about President Zeman was balanced. Jiří Drahoš, at the moment considered to be the most probable competitor of President Zeman in the second round of the elections, had three times the number of negative mentions as opposed to positive ones. However, even in his case, the number of neutral references prevailed. Mirek Topolánek and Michal Horáček were other candidates that were often mentioned,“ added Syrovátka., Prague 08.01.2017
Source: PSSI

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