Public Discourse

In Germany and beyond, there is a diverse group of activists who repeatedly express concern about the continued installation and expansion of cell phone networks and the increasing proliferation of wireless technology. “Antenna masts” (usually mobile communication base stations) appear to attract more criticism than other technical wireless applications. The question of whether electromagnetic fields pose a potential risk to human health is always a core issue. Organizations which are active in the international arena and include scientists, physicians, engineers and small environmental associations on their membership lists have joined the ranks of citizen's groups (usually local campaigners who are opposed to base stations) and individual activists (e.g. building biology professionals). Churches, the media and political parties all add their critical voices to the public debate on wireless technologies.

There is often a lack of balance. The issues are frequently presented without taking into account all of the scientific facts which are currently available. On the other hand, some critics accuse “official” scientific advisory bodies of selectively interpreting the scientific findings. The accusations even go as far as raising conspiracy theories (e.g. Kompetenzinitiative, Brochure No. 4, in German). Few of the critical activists make an effort to engage in a sustained objective dialogue, contribute scientific arguments to the public debate or offer a forum for doing so. The criticism is aimed at (the wireless communications) industry and to a certain extent at government institutions and certain scientists who are accused of being motivated solely by economic considerations or of supporting economic interests. The critics claim that official policy relating to scientifically-based exposure limits only feigns concern for public health and that in reality the policy is primarily based on consideration for the economic welfare of industrial interests. Nearly all of the critics demand that the limits be lowered and that restrictions be placed on the use and continued proliferation of wireless applications.

Better networking (with an international horizon), a pooling of resources and enhanced professionalism in the activities of organizations which raise concerns and which were formerly widely dispersed have become increasingly evident in recent years ( to cite on example). Things have now progressed to the point where international conferences are now being staged which are largely or solely dedicated to a critical discussion of this issue. The media age, and the Internet in particular, has contributed to the flood of information which is becoming increasingly difficult for the man on the street to interpret. It is more and more difficult to distinguish between opinions expressed by critics and official statements / publications. Critics, and to some extent certain elements of the media as well, often cite individual scientific studies as “evidence” that wireless applications are harmful. Despite (or precisely because of) the wealth of information available, the general public is exposed to disinformation, and it takes in-depth expertise to accurately assess the facts in each case.

In today’s media-driven public arena, critics play a significant role in shaping the opinions of the general population.

The links below include organizations, activists and media channels which present a sceptical viewpoint as well as others that make an effort to promote a neutral, objective dialogue.

 

Organisations:

Individual actors:

 

Independent actors, that promote a balanced discourse: