Winners of the Grant Competition on Countering Anti-Western Disinformation
January 31, 2018, was the deadline for submitting proposals to EWMI ACCESS’ grant competition for Georgian CSOs on exposing and countering anti-Western disinformation and propaganda. EWMI ACCESS received 44 proposals. The Grant Review Committee (GRC) reviewed all 44 proposals and selected the following 2 coalition projects for funding:
• Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC) – Georgia, in partnership with Netgazeti, will study and report on the impact of anti-western disinformation and propaganda in the Georgian social media. CRRC Georgia will regularly scrape data (i.e. collect texts, comments, and Facebook posts) from a pre-defined list of Georgian-language Facebook and Internet sources (e.g. Facebook groups and pages, news media websites) to analyze the issues, sentiments, and tones used by anti-western propaganda groups and the viewers’ reactions and responses to them. CRRC Georgia will produce daily reports on the topic and weekly updates of the main developments and trends, using dynamic visualizations of monitoring results. It will also produce and disseminate monthly fact-check articles on propaganda stories receiving the largest attention each month. Based on the social monitoring findings and regression analysis of its past surveys, CRRC Georgia will also identify the target audiences that are most susceptible to anti-western disinformation and develop recommendations on how to reach them effectively. CRRC Georgia will cooperate with Netgazeti to create and publish diverse journalistic materials (e.g. analytical stories, info graphics, story maps, online quizzes) on anti-western propaganda and disinformation in Georgia.
• Strategic Communications Center (StratCom) of Georgia, in partnership with iFact and Indigo, will engage citizens in countering anti-western disinformation by producing and disseminating pro-western strategic narrative of Georgia. StratCom will mobilize Georgian Facebook users and ‘influencers’ to regularly distribute targeted positive narratives about Georgia’s pro-western orientation and counter anti-western disinformation. To serve this purpose, StartCom will create and launch a user-friendly web platform and mobile application allowing an outreach to and engagement of thousands of Facebook users. For effective content-creation, StratCom will operate an internal Analytical Unit responsible for the creation of the targeted, pro-active narratives, visual materials, and communication themes. At the same time, it will cooperate with Indigo and iFact to explore and highlight Georgia’s long-standing national project of European integration and conduct investigative journalism to expose anti-western disinformation actors, sources, and techniques in Georgia.
The projects will commence in April 2018.