Whether it is a distorted coverage or outright conspiracy theories, articles written in German and French by foreign media, often with unclear sources, receive much attention on Facebook and Twitter, writes Oxford Internet Institute in a new study published Monday.
The news from these sites finds a larger audience in the West than news from the countries’ own premier news sites, according to the study.
The institute, which is part of Oxford University, looked at releases from leading media in Russia and China, as well as Iran and Turkey – all of which are state-controlled or closely allied with power regimes.
In French, German and even Spanish, state media groups have “politicized the corona virus by criticizing Western democracies, celebrating their homeland and promoting conspiracy theories about the origin of the virus,” the institute writes.
– A great deal is fact-based, but what they have, especially the Russian ones, is an agenda to discredit democratic countries, says Oxford researcher Jonathan Bright.
The study covered 20 of the most popular stories from May 18 to June 5 from the state-owned Russian news channels RT and Sputnik and the state-controlled news channels of China CGTN, CRI and Xinhua News Agency. In addition to foreign-language news sites from Iran and Turkey.
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