CIVIL is issuing the publication Local Elections 2021: A Trench Battle Against Black Propaganda and Disinformation in which reports, analyses and comments of CIVIL are published that result from the long-term and short-term monitoring of the political and electoral processes.
This publication is available online and is the third of the four that refer to the implementation of the 2021 Local Elections.
The public campaign for the Local Elections that were held on October 17 (first round) and October 31, 2021 (second round) started much earlier, particularly through the black propaganda and disinformation, through which the parties prepared the “ground” for the elections, trying to mobilize support against the “enemy”, but above all, to degrade the opponents and to neutralize their supporters in public.
The period before and after the Local Elections once again confirmed that North Macedonia is no exception to the world trend, but on the contrary, one of the more distinctive examples of a society in which a “permanent campaign” is being carried out, which doesn’t stop for years, and in which propaganda, disinformation and offensive rhetoric prevail.
The black propaganda and disinformation were mainly filled with content related to the Prespa Agreement and the name issue, the stalled European integration and negotiations with Bulgaria, the Framework Agreement and the census, current developments related to the Covid-19 pandemic, with the country facing other major misfortunes in this period that were used both for black propaganda and spreading disinformation – such as the case with the tragic fire in Tetovo that took 14 lives, the arrival of refugees from the Taliban terror in Afghanistan, as well as the forest fires across the entire country that took place during the month of August, before the official start of the campaign.
The battlefield on which the parties, with all permissible and often non-permissible means, fought this battle, were usually the online media, so-called portals, as well as social networks.
The most common forms were content that had the goal of personal discrediting of candidates, as well as the usual polarized debates, with which society has been preoccupied for years, but also with current events that political parties or their supporters used for mutual attacks and settling of scores.