This investigation by Europe’s Far Right, a network of seven news outlets in as many countries, examines the role of organised right-wing populists and their parties in movements against policies designed to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.
Who is behind the “Corona opponents” scene? What personal and ideological connections exist between COVID-19 deniers and extremist forces? How are populists seeking to exploit public discontent over lockdowns and other restrictions to further their nationalist or anti-democratic goals?
Those are just some of the questions asked by Europe’s Far Right, a collaboration by taz (Germany), Falter (Austria), HVG (Hungary), WoZ (Switzerland), Libération (France), Internazionale (Italy) and Gazeta Wyborzca (Poland).
With funding from IJ4EU, the network has been documenting the activities of COVID-19 deniers since November 2020. It has published a series of articles on the networking and business activities of anti-vaxxers and conspiracy theorists against the backdrop of the pandemic.
See below for stories published so far. More coming soon.
Welcome to the ‘conspiracy industry’ 👀
Big profits to be made by railing against COVID-19 policies, as our #IJ4EU grantees found out during this cross-border investigation into Europe’s far right. @tazgezwitscher @nora_belghaus @chrjkb #MediaEUhttps://t.co/9iNVypci2z
— IPI – The Global Network for Press Freedom (@globalfreemedia) March 25, 2021
The network of newspapers was created in 2018 to track how right-wing populists joined forces for the European Parliament election in May 2019. It was awarded the Austrian Concordia Prize for Press Freedom for its work.
In March 2021, the Journalism academic journal published a study by the Weizenbaum Institute and the Mozilla Foundation on the work of Europe’s Far Right as a pioneer of transnational journalism. The paper is Cross-bordering journalism: How intermediaries of change drive the adoption of new practices.
Europe’s Far Right has organised two panel discussions for taz lab 2021, a journalism conference scheduled for late April 2021: Den Vormarsch stoppen: Wo Widerstand gegen Rechtspopulist*innen funktioniert hat – und wo nicht (Stop the advance: Where resistance against right-wing populists worked – and where it didn’t) and „Schwurbler“ gegen „Schlafschafe“: Corona und die Protestbewegung (“Sworn” against “Sleeping Sheep”: Corona and the protest movement).
- Ein Glaube wird zur Gefahr ( WoZ, Switzerland, 17 December 2020 )
- Gegen den Stich: Impfgegner und die Coronapandemie ( taz, Germany, 19 December 2020 )
- Die Verschwörungsindustrie: Geschäfte machen mit der Pandemie ( taz, Germany, 18 March 2021 )
- Wie sich Angst vergolden lässt ( WoZ, Switzerland, 11 March 2021 )
- Der Staat als Endgegner ( taz, Germany, 25 April 2021 )