Elections and pre-election campaigns are a fertile ground for manipulative discourse and disinformation about the candidates and the elections themselves. These malicious activities carry the risk of manipulating the electoral process and undermining democratic institutions. On the occasion of the Czech presidential elections. taking place in January 2023, the Prague Security Studies Institute (PSSI) in cooperation with Demagog.cz and HlídacíPes.org present the project „Czech Elections in the Era of Disinformation: The 2023 Presidential Elections“, which is continuation of the the project series "Czech Elections in the Era of Disinformation".
That is also why PSSI together with partners Demagog.cz and HlídacíPes.org will monitor (not only) the online debate about the presidential elections and draw attention to related cases of disinformation. Demagog.cz and HlídacíPes.org will engage in regular fact-checking of information circulating about the elections and candidates, while PSSI will provide monthly analytical reports on the overall pre-election debate. Our research will include statements of announced and potential candidates, statements about them from the Czech political scene, but also how the elections are addressed in mainstream media and media known for spreading disinformation. In addition to individual cases of disinformation, we will monitor popular topics of pre-election debates, public attitudes towards individual candidates, and also how the candidates themselves react to disinformation campaigns in the online space.
Except for the regular monthly analytical reports about the presidential elections, we released the publication that monitored the public online debate about the presidential elections and individual candidates from October 2022 until the first round of the elections, which took place on January 13 and 14, 2023. Moreover, we also monitored the public debate in the online space between the first round of the elections and the second round of elections, while we specifically focused on how the topic of the war in Ukraine was used and manipulated in the pre-election campaign and in the public discussion in the online space.