Analyst: Oversaturation with Information on COVID-19 has led to Resistance and People stop Listening
The oversaturation with information about COVID-19, even the correct one, has led to resistance and people stop listening, said Dr. Parvan Simeonov, director of Gallup International Balkan, which is part of the project team COVID-19 Crisis and the Future of liberal-democratic constitutional models. The results of the project were presented today at the National Press Club of BTA.
The project leader is Prof. Daniel Valchev, and the interdisciplinary team includes Assoc. Prof. Dr. Martin Belov, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Boris Popivanov and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Simeon Groysman.
Simeonov said that according to the comments of the respondents in the research on the project, all the information about covid has become like "white noise". Moreover, this correct point of view is associated with a lot of conjecture, for example, the new version of the virus starts with conjecture, the political scientist commented. According to him, better communication would be more moderate and more frugal.
As another aspect, Simeonov pointed out the lack of a horizon, as well as the serious doses of edification in connection with the hesitation for vaccination. The political scientist said that he expected the share of Bulgarians who say they are not vaccinated and do not intend to be vaccinated to decrease after the requirement of a green certificate, but it turned out that this forecast is not true. As of November, according to Gallup International, 46 percent of Bulgarians say the same, which is almost the same share as before (45 percent).
We have a permanent public barricade that we need to overcome, the analyst explained. He clarified that a large part of the procrastinators have gone through the virus, the second group, which is not in a hurry with vaccination, is the group of marginalized communities, and the third - of young people.
According to him, people trusted the elites when they were most afraid. Two years have passed and during this time our Western world does not seem to be able to give either of them enough - neither security against the virus, nor freedom, he said. It seems that COVID-19 is here to stay, it's time to figure out how we will live with it, the analyst said. Simeonov called on people to get vaccinated, but also to make sense of everything, as a society we must give ourselves time to recapitulate where we are and how we will live.
Parvan Simeonov noted that two stories have been formed that are equally true and only seemingly fight. One is that in such cases such and such measures are taken, in case of a certain morbidity, and it is true. The other story, which reflects on where our societies are going, whether the decisions of the elites are right, whether the societies are scared or not - this is a story that is doubtful and it is also legitimate and true, Simeonov commented. It seems that with the excessive entry into the expert, the socio-political was left in the background, even at times sanctioned, he commented.
The political scientist Assoc. Prof. Boris Popivanov, who is in the project team, believes that COVID-19 has turned out to be a rating chance for a large part of the political elites in Europe. He commented that around the world, since the beginning of the pandemic, COVID-19 has become a tool in the political clash - in the clash between governments with radical organizations and between governments and opposition - the opposition often did not completely deny government policy, but spoke with nuances on the adequacy of the measures. In that sense, COVID-19 proved to be a rating opportunity for many of Europe's political elites, he noted.
Bulgaria can boast of coming up with some global political innovations in the field of political response to the coronavirus crisis, we gave one of the first examples of extremely powerful and institutional "covid PR" - for example to announce emergency briefings at 23.00 at night by the Speaker of the National Assembly for information about an infected MP, the political scientist believes. Another example is the transformation of COVID-19 into a tool for international political discrediting, as happened with Rumen Radev's visit to Estonia, he said.
Popivanov noted several aspects of how COVID-19 is politically used - as an ally of power, as an opportunity for politicians to manage the political calendar, postpone or speed it up, according to their goals, as well as the transfer of responsibilities - with messages that people must be held accountable for their actions, and even some political forces have spoken directly about "undisciplined citizens." In the end, it turned out that the political forces chose to build an alibi for their own possible failures, on the grounds that people do not do what is required of them, Popivanov said.
According to him, the consensus topics that emerged in the parliamentary speech are two - the economy and health, and the balance between them. He also noted the blurring of political boundaries over the Covid pandemic - almost all political forces have taken all possible positions on the crisis, for and against measures and vaccines, to prevent an outflow of voters who may have a different view. Discussions are gradually fading on two topics - unity and common discipline, and the topic of human rights, is the opinion of Popivanov.
His hypothesis is that political actors, political forces in Bulgaria prefer to leave society scared or confused to do what they want without sanctions from him. According to Popivanov, the Bulgarian political elite can be characterized from the point of view of the pandemic not as occupying a point of view, but as mastering another rather fertile topic.
Assoc. Prof. Martin Belov from the Faculty of Law at Sofia University noted that the topic of "death" occupies about 90 percent of the news in most media, most of which is about the death of covid. "Obviously we live in an era where negative emotions and fear dominate our societies," he said. The coronavirus emergency has affected at least three major groups of issues - constitutional principles, human rights and institutional design. The great merit of the project is the focus on law, because the legal discourse is significantly inferior to the medical, technocratic, and even mathematical discourse, he said.
In response to a question, Prof. Daniel Valchev commented that he was impressed that in recent months it seems that the debate "for" or "against" vaccination has become something like a "religious debate". "Isn't it time to ask ourselves whether the vaccine should or should not be mandatory and to have reasonable arguments in one direction or another, a reasonable interpretation of this issue must be achieved," he said.
Another aspect of the project is related to the reaction of the Bulgarian courts.
The project is funded by the Research Fund of the Ministry of Education and Science in a competition for funding basic research on societal challenges related to the pandemic of COVID-19 - 2020.
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