The Baltic Region

2022 Vol. 14 №3

Back to the list Download the article

COVID-19 pandemic in Germany: information campaign, media, society



The Covid-19 pandemic has been a serious challenge to the entire global community. Globally, countries were forced to introduce restrictive measures to contain the infection, inevitably causing popular discontent. Germany introduced some of the most painful restrictions. In times of crisis, timely and reliable information is a prerequisite for public motivation to comply with restrictive measures. Thus, it seems essential to retrace how the German leadership tried to contain citizens’ dissatisfaction with the restrictions, using information campaigns and strategies. This theoretical work aims to systematise available data on how Covid-awareness was raised in Germany, compare them with data from the Russian Federation, and identify the most successful communication strategies and weaknesses. It is clear from the findings that the channels of communication between the government and society should be diversified using all available means, and experts and opinion leaders, who are more trusted than politicians, should be recruited. In addition, there is a need to combat misinformation and dispel unproven facts. The data obtained can be of value in conducting information campaigns during future global crises.


1. Petzold, M. B., Bendau, A., Plag, J. et al. 2020, Risk, resilience, psychological distress, and anxiety at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in Germany, Brain and Behavior, vol. 10, № 9,

2. Sjölander-Lindqvist, A., Larsson, S., Fava, N. et al. 2020, Communicating About
COVID-19 in Four European Countries: Similarities and Differences in National Discourses in Germany, Italy, Spain, and Sweden, Frontiers in Communication, № 5,

3. Koos, S. 2021, Die «Querdenker». Wer nimmt an Corona-Protesten teil und warum? : Ergebnisse einer Befragung während der «Corona-Proteste» am 04.10.2020 in Konstanz, URN:NBN Resolver für Deutschland und Schweiz, URL: (accessed 07.05.2022).

4. Nachtwey, O., Schäfer, R., Frei, N. 2020, Politische Soziologie der Corona-proteste, the institutional repository of the University of Basel, URL: (accessed 11.05.2022).

5. El-Far Cardo, A., Kraus, T., Kaifie, A. 2021, Factors That Shape People’s Attitudes towards the COVID-19 Pandemic in Germany — The Influence of MEDIA, Politics and Personal Characteristics, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18 (15), art. 777,

6.Glöckner, A. et al. 2020, The Perception of Infection Risks during the Early and Later Outbreak of COVID-19 in Germany: Consequences and Recommendations, PsyArXiv,

7. Majid, U. et al. 2020, Knowledge, (mis-)conceptions, risk perception, and behavior change during pandemics: A scoping review of 149 studies, Public Underst. Sci, № 29, p. 777—799.

8. Dryhurst, S. et al. 2020, Risk perceptions of COVID-19 around the world, J. Risk Res, № 23, p. 994—1006.

9. Eitze, S. et al. 2021, Public trust in institutions in the first half of the Corona pandemic: Findings from the COVID-19 Snapshot Monitoring (COSMO) project, Bundesgesundheitsblatt, Gesundheitsforschung, Gesundheitsschutz, vol. 64, № 3, p. 268—276,

10. Wiedemann, P., Dorl, W. 2020, Be alarmed. Some reflections about the
COVID-19 risk communication in Germany, Journal of Risk Research, vol. 23, № 7—8, p. 1036—1046,

11. Radina, N. K. 2013, Power in the information field of natural and anthropogenic catastrophes (on the basis of documentaries), Polis. Political Studies, № 1, p. 112—124 (in Russ.).

12. Paek, H. J. et al. 2008, Public support for government actions during a flu pandemic: lessons learned from a statewide survey, Health promotion practice, vol. 9, 4 Suppl., p. 60—72,

13. Davis, M. D. M. et al. 2015, Beyond resistance: social factors in the general public response to pandemic influenza, BMC Public Health 15,

14. Raunack-Mayer, A. et al. 2013, Understanding the school community’s response to school closures during the H1N1 2009 influenza pandemic, BMC Public Health, № 13, art. 344.

15. Dohle, S., Wingen, T., Schreiber, M. 2020, Acceptance and Adoption of Protective Measures During the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Role of Trust in Politics and Trust in Science. PsychArchives,

16. Vardavas, C., Odanis, S., Nikitara, K. et al. 2021, Public perspective on the governmental response, communication and trust in the governmental decisions in mitigating COVID-19 early in the pandemic across the G7 countries, Preventive Medicine Reports, № 21,

17. Zimmermann, B. M., Fiske, A., McLennan, S. et al. 2021, Motivations and Limits for COVID-19 Policy Compliance in Germany and Switzerland, International Journal of Health Policy and Management,

18. Hellmann, D. M., Dorrough, A., Glöckner, A. 2021, Prosocial behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic in Germany. The role of responsibility and vulnerability, Heliyon, vol. 7, № 9, art. e08041,

19. Naumann, E., Möhring, K., Reifenscheid, M. et al. 2020, COVID-19 policies in Germany and their social, political, and psychological consequences, Eur Policy Anal., № 6, p. 191—202,

20. Büthe, T., Messerschmidt, L., Cheng, C. 2020, Policy Responses to the Coronavirus in Germany. In: Gardini, G. L. (ed.), The World Before and After COVID-19: Intellectual Reflections on Politics, Diplomacy and International Relations, Stockholm — Salamanca, European Institute of International Studies/Instituto Europeo de Estudios Internacionales, p. 97—102, URL: (accessed 07.05.2022).

21. Vorvereitungen aud Massnahmen in Deutschland, version 1.0 (stand 04.03.2020), 2020, Ergänzung zum Nationalen Pandemieplan — COVID-19 — neuartige Coronaviruserkrankung, Robert Koch Institute, URL: DE/Content/InfAZ/N/Neuartiges_Coronavirus/Ergaenzung_Pandemieplan_Covid.pdf?__blob=publicationFile (accessed 11.05.2022).

22. Volk, S. 2021, Political Performances of Control During COVID-19: Controlling and Contesting Democracy in Germany, Frontiers in Political Science, № 3,

23. Schieferdecker, D. 2021, Beliefs, Attitudes, and Communicative Practices of Opponents and Supporters of COVID-19 Containment Policies: A Qualitative Case Study from Germany, Javnost — The Public, vol. 28, № 3, p. 306—322,

24. Hodges, R., Caperchione, E., Van Helden, J. et al. 2022, The Role of Scientific Expertise in COVID-19 Policy-making: Evidence from Four European Countries, Public Organization Review,

25. Colman, E., Wanat, M., Goossens, H. et al. 2021, Following the science? Views from scientists on government advisory boards during the COVID-19 pandemic: a qualitative interview study in five European countries, BMJ Global Health, № 6, art. e006928,

26. Marten, R., El-Jardali, F., Hafeez, A. et al. 2021, Co-producing the covid-19 response in Germany, Hong Kong, Lebanon, and Pakistan, BMJ, № 372, art. n243,

27. Schumann, F., Simmank, J. 2020, Wir haben es selbst in der Hand, Zeit Online, 8 October, URL: (accessed 15.05.2022).

28. Drescher, L. S., Roosen, J., Aue, K. et al. 2021, The Spread of COVID-19 Crisis Communication by German Public Authorities and Experts on Twitter: Quantitative Content Analysis, JMIR Public Health Surveill, № 7 (12), art. e31834,

29. Breher, N. 2020, When the Ministry of Health sends a push message, Tagesspiegel, (accessed 08.05.2022) (in Germ.).

30. Heiss, R., Waser, M., Falkenbach, M., Eberl, J.-M. 2021, How have governments and public health agencies responded to misinformation during the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe? European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, URL: (accessed 07.05.2022).

31. Mikos, L. 2020, Film and Television Production and Consumption in Times of the COVID-19 Pandemic — The Case of Germany, Baltic Screen Media Review, № 8 (1), p. 30—34,

32. Lemenager, T., Neissner, M., Koopmann, A. et al. 2020, COVID-19 Lockdown Restrictions and Online Media Consumption in Germany, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, vol. 18 (1), № 14,

33. Link, E. 2021, Information avoidance during health crises: Predictors of avoiding information about the COVID-19 pandemic among German news consumers, Information Processing & Management, vol. 58, № 6,102714,

34. Okan, O., de Sombre, S., Hurrelmann, K., Berens, E. M., Schaeffer, D. 2020, Gesundheitskompetenz der Bevölkerung im Umgang mit der Coronavirus-Pandemie, Bielefeld & Berlin, April 2020, URL: (accessed 11.05.2022).

35. Zeng, J.Chan, C.-H. 2021, A cross-national diagnosis of infodemics: comparing the topical and temporal features of misinformation around COVID-19 in China, India, the US, Germany and France, Online Information Review, vol. 45, № 4, p. 709—728,

36. Schaefer, C., Bitzer, E. 2021, Dealing with Misinformation in Media, Kompetenznetz Public Health COVID-19, (accessed 15.05.2022).

37. Hanson, C., Luedtke, S., Spicer, N. et al. 2020, National health governance, science and the media: drivers of COVID-19 responses in Germany, Sweden and the UK in 2020, BMJ Global Health, № 6 (12), art. e006691,

38. Mellado, C., Hallin, D., Cárcamo, L. et al. 2021, Sourcing Pandemic News: A Cross-National Computational Analysis of Mainstream Media Coverage of COVID-19 on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, Digital Journalism, vol. 9, № 9, p. 1261—1285,

39. Schöning, H. 2020, Heiko Schöning Ärzte für Aufklärung Demo 29.08.2020, Berlin, Vimeo, URL: (accessed 27.06.2022).

40. Wegwarth, O., Wagner, G. G., Spies, C., Hertwig, R. 2020, Assessment of German Public Attitudes Toward Health Communications With Varying Degrees of Scientific Uncertainty Regarding COVID-19, JAMA Netw Open, № 3 (12), art. e2032335,

41. Peschke, L. 2020, The Prevention Paradox of the COVID-19 Crisis in Germany. Science Communication in Times of Uncertainties, CORONALOGY: Multidisciplinary Academic Analysis in Perspective of Covid-19.

42. Starosta, K., Onete, C., Grosu, R., Doru, P. 2020, COVID-19 Mass Media Infodemic in Six European Countries, Advance, Preprin,

43. Teufel, M., Schweda, A., Dörrie, N. 2020, Not all world leaders use Twitter in response to the COVID-19 pandemic: impact of the way of Angela Merkel on psychological distress, behaviour and risk perception, Journal of Public Health, vol. 42, № 3, September 2020, p. 644—646,

44. Meier, K., Glatz, T., Guijt, M. C. et al. 2020, Public perspectives on protective measures during the COVID-19 pandemic in the Netherlands, Germany and Italy: A survey study, PLoS ONE, vol. 15, № 8, art. e0236917,

45. Bittmann, F. 2021, How Trust Makes a Difference: The Impact of the First Wave of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Life Satisfaction in Germany, Applied Research Quality Life,

46. Hangel, N., Schönweitz, F., McLennan, S. et al. 2022, Solidaristic behavior and its limits: A qualitative study about German and Swiss residents’ behaviors towards public health measures during COVID-19 lockdown in April 2020, SSM — Qualitative Research in Health, № 2, art. 100051,

47. Schneider, S., Eger, J., Bruder, M. et al. 2021, Does the COVID-19 pandemic threaten global solidarity? Evidence from Germany, World Development, № 140,

48. Bertogg, A., Koos, S. 2021, Socio-economic position and local solidarity in times of crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic and the emergence of informal helping arrangements in Germany, Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, № 74, art. 100612,

49. Pförtner, T. K., Dohle, S., Hower, K. I. 2022, Trends in educational disparities in preventive behaviours, risk perception, perceived effectiveness and trust in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic in Germany, BMC Public Health, vol. 22, art. 903,

50. Soiné, H., Kriegel, L., Dollmann, J. 2021, The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on risk perceptions: differences between ethnic groups in Germany, European Societies, vol. 23, supl. 1, p. 289—306,

51. Dollmann, J., Kogan, I. 2021, COVID-19–associated discrimination in Germany, Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, № 74, art. 100631,

52. Demidov, D. G. 2021, Infodemic in the «communication square» science — power — media — people (Russia against the background of Germany), Kommunikativnye issledovaniya, № 1, URL: (accessed 11.05.2022) (in Russ.).

53. Arkhipova, A. S., Radchenko, D. A., Kozlova, I. V. et al. 2020, Specifics of Infodemic in Russia: From WhatsApp to the Investigative Committee, Monitoring of Public Opinion: Economic and Social Changes Journal (Public Opinion Monitoring), № 6, p. 231—265, (in Russ.).

54. Sukhankin, S. 2020, COVID-19 As a Tool of Information Confrontation: Russia’s Approach (April 1, 2020), The School of Public Policy Publications, vol. 13, № 3, URL: (accessed 15.05.2022) (in Russ.).

55. Barinov, D. N. 2021, Media virus of fear: the peculiarities of representation of
COVID-19 pandemic by the Russian media during the first wave (January — June 2020), Sociodynamics, № 2, p. 73—86, (in Russ.).

56. Lukacovic, M. N. 2020, “Wars” on COVID-19 in Slovakia, Russia, and the United States: Securitized Framing and Reframing of Political and Media Communication Around the Pandemic, Frontiers in Communication, № 5,

57. Malysheva, G. A. 2020, Socio-political aspects of the pandemic in the digital network society: the russian experience, Bulletin of Moscow Region State University, № 3, p. 60—74, (in Russ.).