5G is the so-called fifth generation of network technology in data communication and the new standard for mobile communications. With this technology, even larger amounts of data can be transported via mobile communications than with the 4G standard. Concerns about the dangerous effects of electromagnetic waves have permeated the social debate ever since their introduction and use. The Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) is responsible for investigating and communicating the effects and risks of electromagnetic radiation. The BfS commissioned the nexus Institute to design, organise, conduct and evaluate four citizens’ workshops and one citizens’ ambassador workshop. Kantar Public, as project partner, accompanies the project with an evaluation, in the context of which four telephone interviews are conducted with the registered or participating random citizens.

With the aim of identifying the framework conditions and success criteria that apply to dialogue-oriented communication and participation practice on the topic of mobile telephony and health, it will at the same time be assessed whether these results can also be transferred to other critical topics in the field of radiation protection. The project offers the opportunity to examine dialogue-oriented and participatory communication offerings in a process-accompanying manner and to determine to what extent the level of knowledge and the risk assessment of the participating citizens change through and in the deliberative process – and thus also the attitude towards possible risks of such technologies. The medium of the citizens’ workshops offers 55 randomly selected citizens from the four cities of Bremen, Jena, Cottbus and Freiburg im Breisgau the opportunity to actively contribute their perspectives and ideas on the topic of mobile communications and 5G. In this way, the different interests and needs can be taken into account and the voice of the citizens can be strengthened in the risk communication of new technologies.

The citizens’ workshops will take place in September 2022.

Duration: 04/2022 – 11/2023
Client: Bundesamt für Strahlenschutz (BfS)
Team: Prof. Dr. Christiane Dienel (Wissenschaftliche Beratung), Ina Metzner (Projektleitung), Maria Jacob (Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeit), Leo Busch (Projektassistent)
Project partner: Kantar Public

Illustration: nexus Institut