Scientists who explain the background to the corona pandemic in the media or advise governments are increasingly coming into the crosshairs of corona critics or deniers. One must now unite against the hostility.
In the course of the ongoing restrictions to contain the Covid 19 pandemic, the anger of some critics is increasingly directed against scientists who explain the background in the media or advise governments.
According to media reports, intelligence agencies are also increasingly registering threats against experts who expose themselves. In the scientific community, this phenomenon is longer tangible, said researchers on Thursday. One can meet this with solidarity.
Researchers are threatened for educational work
The phenomenon of considering the bearer of bad news with hostility or threats is by no means new. In the unprecedented Covid-19 crisis, science, in addition to researching the SARS-CoV-2 virus itself, also plays a central role in collecting information and communicating in the media. If representatives of science get caught in the crosshairs of Corona critics or deniers, “it is important to also practice solidarity here,” said Thomas Czypionka from the Institute for Advanced Studies (IHS) in Vienna to journalists on Thursday. Against sometimes unobjective hostility, for example in social media, one also has to unite to a certain extent.
Complexity researcher Peter Klimek from the Complexity Science Hub Vienna (CSH) and the Medical University of Vienna also stated that many scientists who moved a bit into the media limelight with regard to Covid-19 have had unpleasant experiences. Especially when you appear on media platforms that are not only used by people who are more sympathetic to science, a lot of suspicion spills into the inbox as a result. Scientific meetings “then sometimes have the character of a self-help group”, says Klimek: “It is a battle for wear and tear in which the scientific community has to stand together”. It is also about helping highly exposed colleagues to withdraw, protect themselves and still carry important messages.
Affected experts shy away from appearing in the media
Due to strong hostility, there are also some researchers “who no longer dare to speak to the media at all,” said political scientist Barbara Prainsack from the University of Vienna. This particularly affects young researchers in sometimes precarious employment.