One of the core elements of disinformation is persistence. Sticking to a few comfortable tropes makes lying easier.
The EUvsDisinfo database has been accumulating coronavirus-related disinformation cases for more than two months - it’s time to take a look and see what’s hiding in plain sight.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, lives depend on accurate and timely information. In the words of the EU's top diplomat, Josep Borrell, “Disinformation is playing with people’s lives. Disinformation can kill.”
Pro-Kremlin disinformation efforts aims at inducing distrust in institutions; distrust in experts, the health care system and the individuals, engaged in the self-less work to help people affected by the virus. In a situation where trust, cooperation and persistence is essential, disinformation kills people.
What do the MH17 investigation and coronavirus have in common? According to pro-Kremlin disinformation, both are apparently nothing more than Russophobic attacks by the West against an innocent Russia.
Disinformation about the coronavirus reaches a new level of creativity, while the Kremlin's chief propagandist likens Harvey Weinstein's conviction to the Stalinist show trials.
Coronavirus hoax drives Ukrainians to street protests, while the pro-Kremlin media exploits the 6th anniversary of Euromaidan.
This week, the pro-Kremlin disinformation machine has begun “preparations” for the MH17 trial and continued its attack on Poland.
Conspiracy theories about the coronavirus, campaigns against Poland and the White Helmets dominate this week's yield of pro-Kremlin disinformation.
The Disinformation Review is EUvsDisinfo’s weekly newsletter. Issued every Thursday, it summarises the main pro-Kremlin disinformation trends observed across the disinfo cases collected throughout the week, and includes our latest news and analysis. It is available in English, Russian, and now German (as of October 2019).
Since its launch in November 2015, the Review has tracked the evolution of pro-Kremlin disinformation across a collection of more than 6,500 cases in 18 languages. These cases, together with their disproofs, are contained in our public database – the only searchable, open-source repository of its kind. All issues of the Disinfo Review are also chronologically archived on this page.
While the Review is written specifically for a public audience, it is an important resource for experts and policy makers as well. Over the years, it has been referenced and quoted by political leaders, ministries, think tanks, and journalists throughout Europe and beyond.
What makes a pro-Kremlin disinformation case?
The EUvsDisinfo database is dedicated to identifying and exposing disinformation narratives originating in pro-Kremlin media across the EU and Eastern Partnership countries. As of 2019, our monitoring capabilities also expose disinformation spread in the Western Balkans and the EU’s Southern neighbourhood.
In identifying disinformation cases, we focus on messages that provide a partial, distorted, or false depiction of fact-based reality, in line with established pro-Kremlin narratives. We use two criteria to determine whether a disinformation message is included in the database: 1) the message is verifiably false or misleading, according to the publicly available factual evidence and 2) the message originates in a Kremlin-funded media outlet or other information source that has clear links to the Russian Federation. Due to an EEAS policy change in 2018, we no longer include European outlets in the database. Read more about EUvsDisinfo’s terminology here.
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