Belief in COVID-19 conspiracy theories is very strong in all six Western Balkan countries, a new survey shows – and these beliefs are not linked, as might be expected, to educational levels. Over 75 per cent of people in Western Balkan countries believe many or some of the popular conspiracy theories about COVID-19, the latest survey by the Balkans in Europe Policy Advisory Group, BiEPAG, shows. The survey, “The Suspicious Virus: Conspiracies and COVID1-9 in the Balkans,” focuses on beliefs in six popular conspiracy theories: the virus escaped from a lab in Wuhan, i.e. had existed for longer than was publicly known and its origins had been obscured by China; the Chinese government engineered the coronavirus in a lab; it is being spread by the pharmaceutical industry; the US government engineered the virus as a bioweapon; it is linked to 5G technology; and it is being spread to allow Bill Gates to control the population through a vaccine. BiEPAG explained that its opinion poll was conducted in the six Western Balkan countries in October 2020 on a nationally representative sample of at least 1,000 respondents aged 18+ and the questions were asked through telephone and online interviews. The country in the survey with the highest percentage of supporters of conspiracy theories in the Western Balkans is Albania. “The most popular theories attribute responsibility to China, but even the link to Bill Gates is considered to have a lot or some truth to it by more than 43 per cent of the population,” the survey said. According to the survey, although studies of conspiracy theories generally suggest a strong link to lower levels of education, “there is no such pattern in the Western Balkans”. The survey says some theories fare well also among the young and well educated, as well as among the old and less well educated.

via balkan insight: COVID-19 Conspiracy Theories Grip West Balkans, Survey Reveals

Categories: Rechtsextremismus