The Regional Monitoring Report on Disinformation Narratives in the Western Balkans was published

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In the final quarter of 2023, disinformation/topics related to the Gaza conflict dominated our country. Notably, one prevalent disinformation suggests that the West is responsible for the Israel-Palestine conflict, as highlighted in the report


A considerable portion of disinformation surrounding global events in the Western Balkans aims to cultivate a negative perception of Ukraine and Western entities (NATO, EU, USA) while bolstering support for Russia’s geopolitical objectives in the region. These insights stem from the latest “Metamorphosis” Foundation’s monitoring report.

The publication delves into the direction of disinformation in the Western Balkans, emerging trends, narratives, and their underlying motivations and these are just some of the issues covered in the report. Each country (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia) is analyzed separately.

“In the final quarter of 2023, disinformation/topics related to the Gaza conflict dominated our country. Disinformation spreads assertions of the West being responsible for the Israel-Palestine war. Furthermore, the disinformation about Hamas being a paramilitary organization created by Israeli Mossad with the help of the CIA is prevailing. In addition, the report notes the claim that the weapons delivered from the West to Ukraine end up in the hands of Hamas.

Regarding the war in Ukraine, the disinformation spread is about Russian victory, insinuating triumph over Ukraine, the EU, and NATO. False claims include allegations of Ukraine deploying pregnant women to the front lines and misrepresentations of Zelenskyy.

Anti-European narratives are pervasive in all countries across the region, often revolving around emotionally charged and polarizing themes such as war. Whether it’s the Ukrainian-Russian conflict or the Middle East crisis – as part of the general global insecurity or “hypothetical” Balkan wars spurring inter-ethnic intolerance and panic – these most frequent topics fuel disinformation campaigns in all Western Balkan countries.

“Disinformation and fear-mongering regarding a potential war in the Balkans have re-emerged in the reporting period. Alongside accusations directed at the Kosovo government for the challenging conditions of Kosovo-Serbs, the narratives have expanded to blacken all ethnic Albanians, incorporating the familiar threat of a ‘Greater Albania.’ Many of these disinformation articles not only have the potential to disrupt democratic processes of a country and instill pro-authoritarian sentiment but also to cause violence and provoke radicalization inside and outside the borders”, specifies the report.

According to the International and Security Affairs Centre (ISAC), besides propaganda relating to the Ukraine and Gaza conflicts, during this period locally driven false narratives were quite prevalent.

“General parliamentary and partial local elections (held on 17th December) were attracting significant media attention in Serbia. The ruling party’s campaign (SNS), was much more visible than the entire opposition and, as usual, was using more and more anti-Western narratives to smear its opponents, underscoring the lack of transparency and dialogue, leaving Serbia very vulnerable to conspiracy theories and false narratives”, reported from there.

“Faktoje” from Albania noted that in the reporting period, the dominating narrative in the public discourse in the country was the agreement reached between Prime Minister Edi Rama and Italian counterpart Giorgia Meloni regarding illegal migration flows to Italy.

On the other hand, in Kosovo, “Sbunker” noted that the inflow of disinformation from Serbian sources exacerbated tensions in the northern region of Kosovo.

“In the reporting period, “Sbunker’s” team vigilantly monitored and exposed key propaganda claims, both from the external actors in the Western Balkans and the internal ones. Some Serbian media from the North of Kosovo propagated narratives related to the claim that the government of Kosovo was planning deportation of Serbs from this region. This narrative was enhanced following the adoption of Kosovo Central Bank’s regulation prohibiting the use of the Serbian Dinar”, explained in “Sbunker”.

Despite the decline in disinformation articles concerning the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, continuous narratives are persistently circulating across Western Balkan media and social networks.