ECREA online pre-conference: Misinformation, science populism and the role of citizens

Monday, 17 October 2022, 10:00-15:00 CET on Zoom

Misinformation is high on the public agenda, not least in the area of science, environment and climate communication following the current pandemic, climate, and environmental crises. With this pre-conference the ECREA Science and Environment Communication Section puts a focus on how we can understand and analyse misinformation, as well as disinformation, in relation to science and environment conflicts and how we can perceive the roles of citizens that are facing different levels of misinformation in public debates. Misinformation is sometimes linked to science populism which emerges in opposition to what is perceived as elite representations of scientific and environmental dilemmas and problems. The complex and contested dichotomy between expert and lay discourses is therefore central to understanding both misinformation and science populism in science and environment conflicts.

The event furthermore encourages the exploration of the multifarious role of citizens facing mis- and disinformation as either media audiences and users or as active producers or contesters of misinformation in public spheres. The development of a hybrid media environment particularly allows citizens to play an active role in relation to misinformation and science populism. This leaves public authorities and established media institutions with several dilemmas relating to the limits and possibilities of democratic debate and public engagement in science and environmental conflicts.


10:00: Welcome and introduction by the Section Chair, Mette Marie Roslyng

10:10-11:30: Panel 1: Science populism
Chair: Shai Kassirer

  1. Populist demands toward science and their implications for science communication: Analyzing science-related populism across countries and contexts.
    Niels G. Mede, Mike S. Schäfer, Julia Metag & Adrian Rauchfleisch (University of Zurich, University of Münster & National Taiwan University).
  2. From truth to truthfulness? Populist and other claims of authenticity in Western democracies.
    Lone Sorensen & Benjamin Krӓmer (University of Leeds & Ludwig-Maximilians Universität München)
  3. What Drives Climate Policy Dissent? An Ethnography of Post-Denial Green Populism.
    Lluis de Nadal (University of Warwick)
  4. Populist actors and their communication strategies: case-study of misinformation campaign on anti-Covid regulations.
    Renata Matkevičienė (Vilnius University)

11:40-13:00: Panel 2: The spread of mis- and disinformation during Covid-19
Chair: Anna Maria Jönsson

  1. What’s in Messenger Communication? A survey on the prevalence and spread of false information in messenger applications.
    Jan Philipp Kluck & Nicole Krämer (University Duisburg Essen)
  2. Analysis of the spread of Germanlanguage disinformation in the context of COVID-19 protections via the messenger service Telegram.
    Katarina Bader, Carolin Jansen & Lars Rinsdorf (Hochschul der Medie Stuttgart)
  3. How media use and news coverage affect science-related populism on vaccine hesitancy.
    Sarah Kohler & Isabell Koinig (Heinrich Heine Universit Düsseldorf)
  4. “Is COVID-19 a Hoax?”: Auditing the Veracity, Quality, and Accessibility of Google Search Results for COVID-19 Conspiracies in Four Languages.
    Sakked Dabran, Ayelet Bram-Tsabari, Nir Grinberg, Roni Shapira, Miri Yitshaki & Daria Dvorzhitskaia
    (Technion & Ben-Gurion University)

13:00-13:30 Break

13:30-14:50: Panel 3: Discussing misinformation, journalism, and the status of facts#
Chair: Mette Marie Roslyng

  1. Fact-checking: Between the media newsrooms and specialized organizations.
    Iva Nenadić & Viktorija Car (University of Zagreb)
  2. Is STS really to blame? On Fact and “fiction”
    Valerija Vendramin (Educational Research Institute, Ljubljana)
  3. The Covid-19 pandemic and role negotiation in the French journalistic field
    Pauline Renaud (City University of London)

Final words: 14.50

Free admission, registration via Eventbrite