Today, on June 22, 2022, the Kosovar Centre for Security Studies (KCSS) has published the research report entitled " The impact of disinformation and political polarization during COVID-19 pandemic in Kosovo".
This report is an attempt to document instances of disinformation and political polarization during the COVID-19 pandemic in Kosovo and to trace their implications in shaping the public’s attitudes to the pandemic and the pandemic’s management. Taken in its entirety the report is a cautionary lesson for Kosovo’s institutions and its public and an urgent call to examine its strategic communications efforts as it embraces for the next national crises.
The report finds that media efforts to produce and provide credible information to the public about COVID-19 was challenged by the presence of false and fake news and conspiracies about the virus and the pandemic in social and digital media. The presence of conspiracy theories, disinformation and fake news in digital and social media in Kosovo had deleterious effect on the public and its acceptance of the pandemic as a threat as well as the institutional restrictions to prevent the pandemic.
In the conference organized today, in addition to presenting the findings of the report, there was a panel discussion attended by:
- Dr. Florie Miftari- Basholli, representative of National Institute of Public Health of Kosovo
- Mrs. Ardiana Thaçi, Journalist at Klan Kosova
- Mr. Skender Perteshi, Senior Researcher at KCSS
- Mr. Shpat Balaj, Researcher at KCSS.
The speakers of the conference emphasized the need for a centralized strategic communication plan by Kosovo institutions takes a renewed emergency. Consequently, based on the experience of the COVID-19 pandemic and lessons learned from the examination of Kosovo’s information environment in which the pandemic’s management played out, Kosovo institutions should develop a clear and comprehensive communication strategy on issues related to public’s well-being – including health crisis, natural emergencies and national security threats - which provides concrete and clear divisions of roles and actions at all levels of governance.
This report is published in the framework of “COVID-19 pandemic in Kosovo: Tracking and Tackling Disinformation Campaigns” project supported by the Balkan Trust for Democracy, a project of the German Marshall Fund of the United States and the USAID.
The full version of the report can be found here.