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Protecting democratic values by tackling pandemic-related disinformation

The project purpose was to monitor and analyse disinformation and media manipulations related to the coronavirus pandemic, and possible use of pandemic-related fake news and propaganda in order to influence or destabilise the situation in Central and Eastern Europe, particularly in Eastern Partnership countries. The project compared manipulations by means of electronic media and social media in the context of the pandemic, with attention to the general and more specific, country-related narratives and methods, as well as the connections between involved proxy groups.

The project was implemented in cooperation with the Experts for Security and Global Affairs Association (Romania), and the Latvian Institute of International Affairs, with participation of other foreign experts as well.

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Related articles

Report about the international roundtable discussion COVID-19 Conspiracies as Component of Hybrid Threats in the EU and EaP (31 July 2020) by the 1in.am Armenian News and Analyses.

Armenian and Latvian participants' articles in the July 2020 issue of the EaP Monthly Bulletin, and Romanian participants' full article.

9 Sept. 2020 Our partner, director of the Experts for Security and Global Affairs Association Dr Angela Grămadă had an interview with 1in.am Armenian News and Analysis about the role of civil society in dealing with misinformation about the pandemic and other issues (in Armenian).

The October 2020 issue of the EaP Monthly Bulletin features four articles related to the programme and the English version of Angela Grămadă's interview (originally published in Armenian on 9 September).

30 Dec. 2020 CPS vice president Armen Grigoryan participated in the discussion Conspiracy Theories as Political Tools organised by the Media Center.

The January 2021 issue of the EaP Monthly Bulletin features four articles related to the programme.

19 March 2021 CPS vice president Armen Grigoryan's article, Some Lessons about Civil Society’s Role during the Pandemic, published by the Black Sea NGO Forum.

12/4/2020 The Washington Post: Russia’s state-backed media uses the pandemic to spin anti-Western views. They are not alone.
14/4/2020 The Eurasia Daily Monitor: Belarus Fights COVID-19 and an Information War.
16/4/2020 Visegrad Insight: Coercion to Self-Isolation: All the Kremlin's Men Went Out to Fight COVID-19 in Belarus.
24/4/2020 The New York TImes: Pressured by China, E.U. Softens Report on Covid-19 Disinformation.
25/4/2020 Emerging Europe: The conspiracy theories made in Russia spreading faster than Covid-19.
30/4/2020 ISFED, Georgia: Coordinated Network of False Media Pages on Facebook Operating with Political Intentions.
Freedom House Nations in Transit 2020 report (see pp. 10-11, Fragile institutions open the door for Chinese Communist party influence).
1/5/2020 Newsweek: Russian State Television Pushes Conspiracy Theory Bill Gates Is Behind Coronavirus Pandemic.
7/5/2020 5G COVID-19 conspiracies grip Georgia
12/5/2020 Visegrad Insight: Hunger Riots in Europe? The Kremlin in Action.
14/5/2020 EU vs. Disinfo: Capitalising on the Coronavirus Conspiracist Frenzy.
15/5/2020 Allaince for Securing Democracy: Triad of Disinformation: How Russia, Iran, & China Ally in a Messaging War against America.
27/5/2020 Foreign Policy: Yes, Blame WHO for Its Disastrous Coronavirus Response.
10/6/2020 RFE/RL: EU: Russia, China Undermine Democracy With Coronavirus Disinformation.
14/6/2020 International Strategic Action Network for Security: Kremlin's Influence Operations: Working Out Countering Mechanisms for Eastern Partnership Member States.
16/6/2020 Forbes: 2,500 Posts, 300 Platforms, 6 Years: A Huge But Mysterious Pro-Russia Disinformation Campaign Is Exposed.
11/7/2020 Forbes: Face Masks With 5G Antennas, The Latest Covid-19 Coronavirus Conspiracy Theory.
20/7/2020 Visegrad Insight: Wake-Up Call: COVID-19 Infodemic.
24/7/2020 Transitions Online: Czechia, More Resilient Than Ever.
Black Sea NGO Forum: The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Civil Society Sector in the Black Sea Region.
3/9/2020 Transitions Online: Creating a Healthier Infosphere in Central Europe and Beyond.
Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum: Supporting the Viability and Sustainability of EaP Civil Society During the COVID-19 Crisis.
Czech Journal of International Relations, Vol. 55, No. 4/2020 (specoal issue): The Coronavirus and the Future of Liberalism.
GLOBSEC Trends 2020: Central Europe, Eastern Europe and Western Balkans at the Times of Pandemic.
Political Capital Institute: Main Narratives about COVID-19 in the V4 Countries During the First Wave of the Pandemic.
Freedom House report: Freedom on the Net 2020: The Pandemic’s Digital Shadow.
Dr Eran Bendavid, Prof John Ioannidis: Assessing Mandatory Stay-at-Home and Business Closure Effects on the Spread of COVID-19.
International Politics and Society Journal: The EU's vaccine 'non-diplomacy'.
Andrea Kendall-Taylor: Mendacious Mixture: The Growing Convergence of Russian and Chinese Information Operations.

Conference videos
31/7/2020 COVID-19 Conspiracies as Component of Hybrid Threats in the EU and EaP
29/9/2020 The Pandemic: Challenges Faced by Civil Society
9/12/2020 Disinformation, Anti-Vaccination Sentiments and Related Risks
25/1/2021 Leadership in Time of Crisis
27/1/2021 Project conclusion
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