Majority of Czechs Believe Government is Failing to Combat Disinformation and Conspiracy Theories, Poll Finds

Prague, Czech Republic – A recent poll conducted by Median for Czech Radio has revealed that 63% of Czechs believe the government’s efforts to combat disinformation and conspiracy theories are inadequate, while only 18% believe their efforts are sufficient.

The poll, which surveyed 1,000 participants over the age of 18 in late June, highlighted that young people and those with a high school diploma are more likely to perceive the government’s efforts as insufficient. Conversely, individuals with primary education or who vote for the opposition SPD party tend to hold a more positive view.

The findings suggest that those who have lost faith in institutions, authorities, the state, or the system are more susceptible to disinformation and conspiracy theories. Additionally, insufficient media literacy often plays a role in the spread of such misinformation. Alarmingly, six percent of the population unquestioningly accepts disinformation. To counter this, Czech Radio has launched the Ověřovna project, dedicated to debunking disinformation in the public sphere.

In a bid to tackle the issue, the Ministry for Regional Development has published a new methodology recommending that conspiracy websites not receive public funding. This approach aims to ensure that publicly funded institutions’ advertisements do not appear on disinformation and conspiracy websites, thereby minimizing their reach.

According to the European Values Security Centre, the Czech disinformation scene in 2022 consisted of 39 active and relevant disinformation websites, seven fewer than in 2021. These monitored websites released a total of 126,826 articles, a decrease of approximately 70,000 from the previous year. The decline is attributed to the receding impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the temporary blocking of disinformation websites following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The poll’s results serve as a wake-up call, highlighting the urgent need for effective measures to combat disinformation and conspiracy theories in the Czech Republic. Strengthening media literacy and investing in initiatives that debunk false information are crucial steps in protecting the public from the dangers posed by the spread of misinformation.

Article by Prague Forum

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