The PANCOPOP Project’s Research Associate, Dr Ana Stojiljkovic, participated in the 9th Annual Conference of the International Journal of Press/Politics at the University of Edinburgh on the 12th and 13th October 2023. Dr Stojiljkovic presented a paper titled ‘Pandemic Communication in Times of Populism’ as part of the panel titled Communicating Science in Challenging Times.
The paper presented preliminary findings from the first strand of the PANCOPOP Project’s research, focusing on government communication. The paper addressed questions such as the key actors involved in public health communication in the four countries, their approach to pandemic communication – whether actors called for unity and compliance or politicised issues and polarised audiences) and what practices they employed.
The findings discussed in the paper using a comparative approach across all project countries revealed that all populist leaders politicised the pandemic. However, leaders in the US and Brazil targeted medical elites (public health officials), while those in Serbia and Poland adhered to their usual practice of targeting the opposition and critical media.