Vaccination and disinformation in the Czech information environment

We are facing the era of The Web 2.0, where everybody can easily spread and promote their own messages and, via the potential of social networks and other communication channels, reach a significant number of people. Despite the many positives technological progress has brought, many problems with information overload have emerged as well. When it comes to the health care and the way the public gets its information the Internet has become one of the first sources people resort to. The issue of misleading health-related data flow and their potential impact on one’s decision has therefore become a matter of significant interests. And since the WHO declared vaccine hesitancy as one of the top 10 threats for 2019, in line with the heightened recurrence of measles across the globe, it is important to ask to what extent false information can influence public health in reality.

Based on the contemporary international debate pertaining to the influence of so-called anti-vaccination movements, and the role of misinformation in public health as such, the main aim of this project is to find out whether Czech websites known to be spreading misleading content are publishing manipulative articles about vaccinations as well. The one-year subject period (concretely from January 1, 2018 to February 15, 2019) was analyzed with a special focus on the negative framing of the vaccination.

Dates of implementation: February – June 2019

The data-gathering is conducted using the >versus< media monitoring tool, developed by the Beacon Project of the International Republican Institute. The Beacon Project supports
a stronger and broader transatlantic dialogue on identifying and closing the democracy gaps in our societies exploited by domestic and foreign hostile disinformation campaigns.