Social media posts from the Ukrainian battlefields have been invaluable in enabling prosecutors in Serbia and Montenegro to prove the illegal military action of their nationals in Ukraine.
It may be a long struggle against the odds, but some independent media and civic activists in the Balkans are determined to counter the tide of fake news and disinformation flooding the region.
Balkan youth have been an easy target for extremists seeking to radicalise them and convince them to fight abroad, but now parents, activists and official Islamic organisations are striking back.
Not a single Bosnian has been registered as going to the Middle East to fight in the last year and a half, and the authorities’ anti-terrorism focus has been redirected from prosecutions to deradicalisation programmes.
Russian news outlets have increased their presence in the Balkans, but anti-Western news sites launched this year in Montenegro are run by locals who oppose NATO membership and EU integration.
While Balkan countries have curbed the flow of fighters to foreign wars, the online space is still a haven for Islamist extremists who remain out of reach there, recruiting and spreading messages of hate.
Excluded from the mainstream media, whose content is more heavily policed, the purveyors of extreme ideologies are spreading their messages of fear and hatred on social networks.
After dozens of self-proclaimed imams were prosecuted for recruiting fighters for Middle East wars, state-backed religious organisations have joined the online fight for the hearts and minds of Muslims in the Balkans.
Some jihadis from the Balkans who travelled to the Syrian conflict zone to support Islamic State told BIRN that they returned home because they became disenchanted with the brutality, poverty and oppression.