Disinformation Narratives in the Public Communication of Lithuanian Political Leaders During the COVID-19 Pandemic 

Liutauras ULEVIČIUS (Vilnius University)

During the COVID-19 pandemic, a large part of the society were deprived of direct contacts and traditional means of communication and information sharing. Possibilities for uninhibited publication and dissemination of any information provided by digital space has become a tool for some politicians not only to protect their constituents but also seek transient popularity or other goals in manipulative ways. In a post-truth culture, such an approach based on a ‘personal opinion’ or emotion has virtually become a substitute for scientifically proved facts and objective truth. Research on the disinformation phenomenon draws upon analysis of individual narratives and the deconstruction of their structure and content. The research involves the identification of the main false narratives developed by Lithuanian political leaders starting with the January of 2020 and the singling out of those narratives that determined the politicians’ subsequent success or even the popularity of some older or new social movements and political parties.