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BIRN: Russia and China, through disinformation, want to hinder Kosovo's Euro-Atlantic integration

2023-11-27 19:04:00, Kosova & Bota CNA

BIRN: Russia and China, through disinformation, want to hinder Kosovo's

A report compiled by BIRN's Balkan Investigative Journalism Network draws attention to the fact that Russia and China are using disinformation in order to incite inter-ethnic conflict in Kosovo, reduce public confidence in the Euro-Atlantic integration process and present the United States in a bad light. distorted.

The report with the title "Whirlpool of reds", which was drawn up with the support of the European Union, underlines the fragility of institutions and the media to face this whirlwind.

Kreshnik Gashi from BIRN said that the Russians, through disinformation, aim to hinder Euro-Atlantic integration as well as incite violence and hatred between communities in Kosovo.

"There is a constant attempt to criminalize NATO in Kosovo and it was seen as something that is not good for our country. The second narrative that has been identified and which is also problematic is the narrative against integration into the European Union and the attempt to portray the EU as something bad for Kosovo. Further, the Russian influence aims to incite a war inside Kosovo and we have identified this with the messages that have come towards Kosovo with what NATO has begun to blame as a mechanism that is only supporting the Albanians and is aiming to help them. with the occupation of the north of Kosovo", he said.

According to the report, Kosovo does not have the capacity to deal with disinformation coming from Russia and the influence that may come from China.

"The main data is that their influence is reaching to affect the citizens of Kosovo because the measurements that have been made with the citizens have established that the disinformation coming from Russia is perceived as something true in our country", said Mr. Gashi.

The report emphasizes that Russian disinformation has been rebroadcast in the Kosovo media, which are falling victim due to the lack of editorial policies to identify the distribution of disinformation coming from Russia and China.

According to the report, disinformation coming from China, although it is less in number, spreads in Kosovo with the aim of attacking the United States.

"The first point is the promotion of the United States of America as something bad and as a country with high criminality and problems with the rule of law. The second point is to promote or provide information about health in China and the third is also aimed at the market that China is a developed country and Chinese products should be bought because they are of high quality," said Mr. Gashi. .

The head of the European Union office in Kosovo, Tomas Szunyog, said that the report shows that Kosovo is hit by foreign influence and propaganda, especially on its way to integration into the European Union and NATO.

"We know that the majority of Kosovo's citizens, more than 90 percent, are in favor of integration into the European Union, we must maintain this positive number. However, if the citizens of Kosovo are exposed to misinformation that shows that the integration in the European Union is unfavorable and not beneficial for the future of Kosovo, this can lead to the reduction of support for the integration itself and the lack of progress towards the integration in the European Union". he said.

Mr. Szunyog said that a major concern raised in the report is the spread of misinformation about a possible war between Kosovo and Serbia, which, according to him, is dangerous and can further fuel tensions.

"Europe is challenged by far-right and nationalist policies. As a very ethnic society, Kosovo should not allow itself to be influenced by nationalist misinformation that harms tolerance ," he said.

The report emphasizes that a good percentage of the population finds it difficult to distinguish between correct and false information in the absence of the necessary knowledge to identify misinformation.

The report calls for the development and implementation of media education programs and strong fact-checking mechanisms within media organizations as an opportunity to combat disinformation coming from abroad./ VOA

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