Germana BARATA, State University Campinas, Brazil
Brazilian science has been under attack since the current government was elected, in January of 2019. The deep cuts in science annual budgets, scholarships, and the dismissal of director of the National Institute Spacial Research (INPE) - responsible for tracking and monitoring deforestation in the Amazon - and the increasing attacks scientists are facing are some indication of a hostile scenario in Brazil (Escobar, 2021). Since Covid-19 Pandemic took place on February 26, 2020, the country has nearly lost 400,000 Brazilians, or 12.4% of worldwide deaths (WHO, 2021), in a population that represents 3% of the Globe’. The Federal Government policy to fight the new disease has been to denial its severity, betting on Hydroxychloroquine pills’ production, promoting the distribution of a proven inefficient Covid-19 Kit at the Public Health System, refusing to use masks, and encouraging anti vaccine support, crowds and civil disobedience against State and Municipal Governments’ tighter quarantine rules.In this landscape, scientific evidence has become the worst nightmare to fight disinformation that has been financed and disseminated by the Federal Government (Ricard & Medeiros, 2020). Science denialism opened a deep gap of trustful information between government and society. Therefore, stream media, scientists and science communicators joined efforts to inform the public about preventive measures, vaccination campaigns, daily epidemiology updates, fact checking and sharing health information to an increasing mistrusted population. Science communicators boosted activism on social media and have seen growing social engagement (Science Pulse & IBPAD, 2020) as well as cyber attacks and harassment (Watanabe, 2020). As a result, science communication has gained institutional support and scholars’ interest, made a jump in science communication output and practice and conquered an expansion of niches to analyse science data, fake news and improve science communication practice. On the other hand, science communication is facing urgent need for investments, training and access to social media data analysis as Whatsapp (the most used social media to spread fake news in the country) (Galhardi et al, 2020) and Youtube that contributes to spread fake news (Tokojima Machado, de Siqueira and Gitahy, 2020). This presentation aims at analysing the changes on science communication environment in Brazil as an important role to fill the gap the federal government has opened to inform society about Covid-19.