Almost fifty percent of respondents in a recent survey believe in the conspiracy that statistics are being manipulated to exaggerate the COVID mortality rate by including deaths from other diseases, it was said on Tuesday at a presentation of the findings of a survey of COVID-19 conspiracy theories in Croatia.
Younger people aged 25 to 29, those less educated, from larger households with lower incomes, and from smaller towns are somewhat more inclined to believe in COVID conspiracy theories, the survey’s coordinator and professor at the Faculty of Political Sciences in Zagreb, Nebojsa Blanusa, said.
He added that people who tend to believe in COVID conspiracy theories have lower trust in science, a tendency towards right-wing populist and religious attitudes, lower scientific and political literacy, and are less inclined to think critically.
The next most represented conspiracy theory, which 35.7 percent of those surveyed agree with, is that COVID-19 was “intentionally produced and spread so that the world powers would benefit politically or economically,” while 35.3 percent believe that “COVID was produced by the pharmaceutical lobby to become rich on the sale of vaccines.”
Blanusa noted that there is a link between COVID conspiracy theories and the tendency to believe that one’s own nation is threatened by internal and external enemies and in the existence of hidden, conspiratorial actions in otherwise unrelated events.
He also warned about the media’s responsibility during the coronavirus crisis.
“Mainstream media, with their bombastic headlines and sensationalist reporting on COVID, actually gave people a reason to believe more in conspiracy theories,” Blanusa said.
He also emphasised the need for adequate involvement of politics and competent institutions in promoting media literacy and in the fight against fake news.
The survey was organised by the GONG non-governmental organisation in partnership with the Faculty of Political Sciences in Zagreb, the University of Dubrovnik, the Faktograf fact-checking NGO, the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing in Zagreb, the Croatian Journalists’ Association and the Croatian Journalists’ Trade Union.
Andrea Vranic, a professor at the Zagreb Faculty of Philosophy, said that believing in COVID conspiracies is also connected with believing in other conspiracies which have nothing to do with the pandemic.
According to survey results, people who are prone to believe in conspiracy theories and are unvaccinated have a strong distrust of institutions. On a scale from 0 to 10, the national COVID response team, the government and political parties were rated with less than 2, and the media with slightly less than 3. These people have the most trust in family members, rating this 8.8.
Vranic’s colleague Mirjana Tonkovic underlined that people who believe in COVID conspiracies are more ready to act against protective measures.
Specifically, according to the survey, of the 20 percent who believed in COVID conspiracies, 41 percent would participate in an online protest against the measures, 21.6 percent would participate in blocking or occupying a public space or building, and 17.2 percent would donate money to organise a fight against the measures.
“Fighting against misinformation is important in preventing the spread of conspiracy theories and another important element is to return measures to institutions,” concluded Tonkovic.
Komentari (0)Prikaži sve komentare