Disinformation has never been more a part of the public discourse in the Balkans and Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) than in recent years. However, knowledge of the methods, sources, motives, connections, actors, and other aspects of the disinformation landscape in BiH and the region is scarce, based mostly on anecdotes and some research about the country’s media scene.
With this in mind, Raskrinkavanje.ba, an online disinformation-debunking portal run by Civic Association “Why Not,” analyzed disinformation in BiH based on 2,420 media articles published by 752 media outlets that were fact-checked between November 2017 and November 2018. These articles were “rated” (or classified) as being one or more of fourteen forms of media manipulation, producing 3,592 different ratings. More than 60% of the articles that were rated as false or misleading—1,486 articles by 477 media outlets—dealt with issues that are political in nature.
The research looked into the types, sources, and redistributors of disinformation; their geographic location; their targets and beneficiaries; and the ways in which connections between them serve as distribution channels for disinformation. It found that while most sources of disinformation in BiH are domestic, a tightly knit hub of foreign outlets disproportionately uses a variety of disinformation tactics to push a counter-democratic agenda in the country.Read more