Czech Government Fails to Combat Disinformation, Say Two-Thirds of Czechs

A recent Median for Czech Radio poll found that 63% of Czechs believe the government is failing to combat disinformation and conspiracy theories. In comparison, only 18% believe their efforts are sufficient.

The poll involved 1,000 participants over 18 and took place in late June. According to Přemysl Čech, director of Median, young people and those with a high school diploma are more likely to consider the government’s efforts inadequate. Those with primary education or who vote for the opposition SPD party tend to hold the opposite view.

The poll’s findings suggest that people who have lost faith in institutions, authorities, the state, or the system are more susceptible to disinformation and conspiracy theories. In addition, inadequate media literacy is often a contributing factor. Six percent of the population uncritically accepts disinformation. Czech Radio operates a project called Ověřovna, which debunks disinformation in the public sphere.

According to a new method published by the Ministry for Regional Development, conspiracy websites should not receive public funding. The methodology for online advertising will help ensure that publicly funded institutions’ advertisements do not appear on disinformation and conspiracy websites.

The Czech disinformation scene in 2022 consisted of 39 relevant and active disinformation websites, seven fewer than in 2021, according to the European Values Security Centre. The monitored websites released 126,826 articles, a decrease of around 70,000 from 2021. According to the authors, the decrease is due to the waning of the coronavirus pandemic and the temporary blocking of disinformation websites after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began.