Vrbetice case study: Effective policies and international cooperation for countering disinformation

Grantee: European Values Center for Security Policy / Partner: EuroPolicy, o.z. (Slovakia) / Grant: €126,406.20
  • Priority Area Multidisciplinary Investigations on Disinformation in Europe
  • Year 2022, 2023
  • Country Czech Republic
  • Project Status Ongoing

The case under investigation concerns the explosion of ammunition depots in the village of Vrbětice in Czechia. In April 2021, the Czech Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior announced that the explosion was caused by Russian operatives who were also responsible for the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the UK in 2018. However, following this announcement, pro-Kremlin disinformation sources in Czechia and Slovakia began spreading misinformation in order to create confusion and undermine citizens’ confidence in the official investigation. The overlap of the Czech and Slovak information spaces, as well as the non-existent language barrier, contributed to the rapid spread of disinformation.

As a practical outcome, the project aims to provide recommendations to institutions and authorities on how to counter such massive disinformation campaigns and what preventive measures to take. The project will define specific criteria that will enable the creation of a set of recommendations for each country separately. To achieve this goal, the project will employ a new software for online analysis developed by Gerulata Technologies (a Slovakian company). Importantly, the project will not end when the project time runs out; rather, it will create a mechanism that will be applicable even after the project is over.

Updated on 27 march 2023

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