Deconstructing and exposing Russian fake news campaigns and propaganda during the Covid-19 crisis in the Republic of Moldova and the broad Black Sea Region

Start and end date of the project: April – November 2020

The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic across the globe and the establishment of the state of emergency in most countries coincided with a wave of fake news, manipulation and propaganda campaigns related to the novel coronavirus. The informational space became even more vulnerable in the Black Sea region as Kremlin-based campaigns and fake narratives have exponentially increased being backed up by public officials and loyal media that promoted anti-Western messages and spotlighted Russian and Chinese performances in managing the healthcare crisis and providing help to countries in need.

To reduce the destructive impact of disinformation and propaganda on the audiences in the Republic of Moldova and the Black Sea region, CRPE implements the project “Deconstructing and exposing Russian fake news campaigns and propaganda during the COVID-19 crisis in and the broad Black Sea Region”, aims at:

i) Deconstructing Russian and Chinese propaganda by identifying and exploring the main misleading narratives, the actors and the channels used to spread these and subsequently provide a reliable explanation to the fakes.

 ii) Strengthening the capacity of journalists and citizens to recognize fake news and propaganda related to COVID-19 and motivate a proactive and critical approach towards the information and its source.

The project foresees publishing a set of explanatory investigative articles and interviews about COVID-19 experiences of health workers and regular citizens on the media platform, as well as drafting three policy papers that cover disinformation and propaganda campaigns in the Republic Moldova, in the broader Black Sea region, as well as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the election campaigns in the above mentioned regions. Additionally, an interactive map of the broad Black Sea region will be developed to depict and deconstruct the main fake narratives, actors, and channels of propaganda in each country. 

The project targets the general public including journalists and representatives of international organizations and civil society, students, public health workers.

The project is funded by the Black Sea Trust for Regional Cooperation of German Marshall Fund of United States