UK Institute For Statecraft Hopes BBC Can Help Counter Russia In Balkans - Anonymous
UK non-governmental organization Institute for Statecraft, which set up project Integrity Initiative on information campaign against Russia, listed renewed BBC Serbian broadcasts as one of the key issues in a campaign to counter Russia in the Balkans, according to the files released by Anonymous hacker group
The hackers suggest that the Institute for Statecraft wanted to secure 5.5 million Pounds (or $7 million) in funding from the UK government. The activists published what they said was a letter by Chris Donnelly, the head of the Institute for Statecraft, dated October 15, Monday. The year was not stated, but appeared to be 2018. In this letter, Donnelly shared his ideas on an influence campaign in the Balkans.
According to the hackers, Donnelly developed a new project in 2019, a campaign against corruption and malign influence in the Balkans. A document that according to the hackers detailed a draft plan of the campaign included "renewed BBC Serbian broadcasts to counter Russian fake news" as one of the key issues.
In addition, the plan's key issue list includes "capture of political systems by powerful officials/elites" in some of the states, "suppression of media," self-proclaimed republic of Kosovo as a "major problem," stalling anti-corruption effort and "major EU and NATO concerns (as well as HMG [Her Majesty's Government]) re Russian influence in region.
The authors of the document cited an article in Politico outlet about BBC reopening its Serbian language service, launching a website and announcing partnerships with local media. The article suggested that this was part of a soft-power campaign aimed at countering alleged fake news from Russia. The story cited a 2016 report by the Center for Euro-Atlantic Studies, which found that there were more than 100 Serbian organizations promoting close ties with Russia.
Integrity Initiative has not confirmed yet whether the documents are authentic, although it partially confirmed the authenticity of some of the previous releases. According to the files published by Anonymous, the project is setting up a network of offices in former USSR countries and European states.