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Establishing trust in experts during a crisis: expert trustworthiness and media use during the COVID-19 pandemic

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journal contribution
posted on 28.04.2022, 15:19 authored by Sabina MiheljSabina Mihelj, Katherine Kondor, Vaclav StetkaVaclav Stetka

Existing research on factors informing public perceptions of expert trustworthiness was largely conducted during stable periods, and in long-established Western liberal democracies. This paper asks whether the same factors apply during a major health crisis, and in relatively new democracies. Drawing on 120 interviews and diaries conducted during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Serbia, we identify two additional factors not acknowledged in existing research, namely personal contact with experts and experts’ independence from political elites. We also examine how different factors interact and show how distrust of experts can lead to exposure to online misinformation. 

Funding

The Illiberal Turn? News Consumption, Polarization and Democracy in Central and Eastern Europe

Economic and Social Research Council

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History

School

  • Social Sciences and Humanities

Department

  • Communication and Media

Published in

Science Communication

Volume

44

Issue

3

Pages

292 - 319

Publisher

SAGE Publications

Version

VoR (Version of Record)

Rights holder

© The Authors

Publisher statement

This is an Open Access Article. It is published by SAGE Publications Publications under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence (CC BY). Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Acceptance date

26/04/2022

Publication date

2022-05-20

Copyright date

2022

ISSN

1075-5470

eISSN

1552-8545

Language

en

Depositor

Prof Sabina Mihelj. Deposit date: 27 April 2022