5G technology does not cause or spread coronavirus
This conspiracy theory is more often believed by those who do not use the internet (47%), which indicates a significant impact of the digital divide on citizens’ attitudes.
PODGORICA, 11 JULY 2021 – Almost one-third of the citizens of Montenegro (31%) believe that 5G technology causes or spreads coronavirus and that this is being kept secret so that the companies dealing with this technology can continue to make a significant profit. This is one of the findings from a March survey on a nationally representative sample conducted by the research agency Ipsos, with the support of the British Embassy in Podgorica and UNICEF.
UNICEF's Young Reporters analysed this conspiracy theory in Montenegro to check if there was any truth in it. Their analysis is available on UNICEF Montenegro's website and it shows that the fifth generation of mobile internet does not kill the living world or spread coronavirus.
Younger citizens aged 18–44 years, as well as citizens with higher education, believe this conspiracy theory less often.
On the other hand, this conspiracy theory is more often believed by those who do not use the internet, which indicates a significant impact of the digital divide on citizens’ attitudes.
The data that this conspiracy theory is more often believed by those who claim that they were lucky if they managed to find the information they were looking for on the internet indicates that the level of media literacy also significantly affects the level of belief in conspiracy theories.
The data showing that, among those citizens who believe the conspiracy theory that 5G technology causes or spreads coronavirus, there are more who are not sure whether to trust their child's doctor, as well as who do not trust science, indicates that building trust in experts and relevant institutions is crucial for Montenegro
The fact that citizens, who think that those who do not share their political views are evil, are at the same time more likely to believe this conspiracy theory shows that it is crucial to strengthen a culture of dialogue, in which people exchange different opinions in a friendly atmosphere, analyse them and do not condemn people who have a different attitude.
How important it is for the public health of any society to be able to discuss conspiracy theories and raise awareness about ways to verify information can be seen from the data on the impact of these theories on citizens’ behaviour. Specifically, among citizens who believe that 5G technology causes or spreads coronavirus, there are significantly more who would not get vaccinated against coronavirus, as well as who state that if they had a baby today, they would not want him/her to receive all the recommended vaccines, including the MMR vaccine.
The nationally representative sample for this study included 821 respondents aged 18 or over across the country. Data collection took place in the period from 24 to 26 March this year through a telephone survey, i.e. a questionnaire whose average duration was 20 minutes. The key findings of this research are available on UNICEF Montenegro's website.