The shadow of Soviet-era influence still looms large over the Czech Republic. Recently, it has experienced a spate of disinformation and fake news — a blend of pro-Russian propaganda and anti-EU rhetoric. Besides media outlets like the Russian government-sponsored Sputnik, there are dozens of other online media platforms churning out popular Kremlin talking points to the country’s unsuspecting audiences. According to various estimates, the Czech-language disinformation outlets reach about 10% of the country’s population. Read more: Is Russia running a coronavirus disinformation campaign? While some of those outlets show a clear political orientation, often strictly anti-EU and anti-liberal, others seem to favor whatever type of content can generate the most clicks, from anti-5G conspiracy theories to pictures of German Chancellor Angela Merkel standing alongside Adolf Hitler, drawing parallels between today’s Germany and the Nazi Third Reich. Roman Cihalik, a Prague-based PR professional, says that he and his colleagues could no longer bare seeing their work on one of the many disinformation websites on the Czech internet. “From our experience, the absolute majority of companies who advertise online have no idea where their ads end up,” Cihalik says. Roman Cihalik (center) is determined to “stop the spread of the disinformation virus” In… Read full this story
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