Interview with Andreas Schwarz on dealing with followers of corona conspiracy myths in South Thuringia and North Franconia dailies

Dr. Andreas Schwarz, head of the Group for Public Relations and Communication of Technology (PRTK), spoke to the daily newspaper Freies Wort over the weekend about beliefs in conspiracy myths related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr. Andreas Schwarz

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In the interview, which sheds light on a study just published by the Universities of Vienna and Edinburgh, Schwarz pleads for avoiding sweeping generalizations. Neither can one safely assume that the popularity of conspiracy myths is declining, nor should those who believe in conspiracy myths be placed exclusively in the radical right-wing corner.

Schwarz sees the reasons that previous skeptics are moving away from Corona conspiracy myths in an improved supply of information, but above all in the growing personal points of contact with the pandemic. Hardliners, however, can only be reached with difficulty. The only thing that can help here is to keep talking, to acknowledge fears and uncertainties, but also to openly contradict and clarify them.

During the interview, Schwarz also presented the interdisciplinary research project Decipher, which was launched this summer to analyze and compare the risk and crisis communication of government agencies and the media in seven countries during the Covid-19 pandemic. The project is being carried out by four research groups of the Technische Universität Ilmenau, including PRTK, and the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) with funding from the German Research Foundation.

In addition to the Freie Wort (all local sections), the article also appeared in the cover section of the following newspapers: Meininger Tageblatt, Südthüringer Zeitung, Frankenpost, Neue Presse Coburg, Nordbayerischer Kurier.


Complex scientific questions and problems can often not be solved from the perspective of a single science alone. Interdisciplinarity, i.e. interdisciplinary cooperation, is therefore of great importance. Both inter-faculty cooperation at the TU Ilmenau and beyond its borders bundle competences and are an indispensable part of research at the IfMK.

TU Ilmenau/ari