AidData researchers measured three key dimensions of resilience: (1) journalists and the media as content suppliers; (2) citizens as consumers of that information; and (3) government institutions as regulators. The resulting Media Resilience to Malign Influence (MRMI) index, featured in the Standing Firm? Measuring Resilience to Malign Foreign Influence in European & Eurasian Media report, incorporates data collected on each of these three components for 17 countries from 2010-2020 and provides a composite score, facilitating cross-comparability over time.
Across 17 countries, AidData researchers have mapped media ownership and potential channels for foreign influence. Each country profile features a list of the top five radio, TV, newspaper and online outlets, plus a breakdown of corporate and individual shareholders that highlights ownership ties to both domestic governments and foreign entities, including the Kremlin and Russian oligarchs. The profiles also track the presence of 11 Russian state-owned media outlets, including Russia 1, RTR-Planeta, TASS and Sputnik.
Media Literacy Survey Report
AidData researchers fielded a digital survey in 10 of the 17 E&E countries that asked 35 questions evaluating media literacy. If governments and media are captured by foreign actors, the last line of defense are citizens and their ability to identify and reject (or not) dis- and misinformation. AidData partnered with survey firm RIWI to leverage their novel Random Domain Intercept Technology to field the survey online, which mixed self-reporting questions about behavior and “right and wrong” questions to provide objective tests.
Media Sentiment Analysis
Utilizing the top online outlets in the media ownership profile, AidData researchers scraped as many articles as possible to conduct sentiment analysis on keywords to indicate how favorably or not topics from the West, Russia, and even China were covered from 2019 to 2021.