“Transgenic food”, “transgenic products”, “Genetically Modified  Organisms, GMO”, “biosafety”,  were  some  of  the  phrases  that  became  popular  in  1999,  due  to  the Biosafety Protocol Meeting which took place in Cartagena, Colombia. The topic had to  do  with  science,  business,  health  and  environment;  it  was  a  controversial  and up-to-date  issue,  breaking  news,  and  also  brought  once  again  the  confrontation between north and south.

The  Colombian  Association  of  Science  Journalism,  ACPC,  analyzed  the  written media  articles  that  appeared  in  the  pages  of  26  Colombian  newspapers  and  10 international ones, between January 1st and April 30th of 1999. In total we reviewed 199 articles, 156 in the national press and 43 in the international newspapers.

We  focused  mainly  in  three  aspects:  the  responsibility,  the  objectiveness  and  the source  treatment  of  the  newspapers  towards  the  message  they  published.  As  a result  we  can  conclude  that  the  information  was  not  presented  with  accuracy. Scarcely the articles became a good shot; mostly they had big journalistic problems,which  was  reflected  in  the  public  perception  of  transgenic  issues  regarding  the potential goodness or eventual danger of biotechnology research and practice.

With few exceptions, articles did not show that there was a journalistic research of the topic, which lead to a wrong handling of biotechnology concepts and statistics, lack  of  equity  in  sources  and  fact-checking,  great  display  of  tendentious  graphic resources and sensationalism language style.

Everyday, journalists have to think even more about the impact that their published pieces generate on their readers (audience in general). How objective are we when we  consult  our  sources?  Do  we  realize  about  the  interests  behind  every  source? Who benefit from our article?

Journalism  practice  does  not  end  with  publication.  It  deals  also  with  the  public, which  has  been  the  everlasting  forgotten  element  of  the  process.  We  think  that journalists have to really have in mind their audience when they are in front of their PC  writing  a  piece.  Respect  to  readers  and  broadcast  listeners  or  viewers  is  the less that audience deserve, when they receive messages through the mass media.


 

 



 

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

International and national press coverage analysis of the biosafety protocol meeting in Cartagena, Colombia February, 1999

Bogotá Colombia   President Colombian Association of Science Journalism, ACPC

“Transgenic food”, “transgenic products”, “Genetically Modified  Organisms, GMO”, “biosafety”,  were  some  of  the  phrases  that  became  popular  in  1999,  due  to  the Biosafety Protocol Meeting which took place in Cartagena, Colombia. The topic had to  do  with  science,  business,  health  and  environment;  it  was  a  controversial  and up-to-date  issue,  breaking  news,  and  also  brought  once  again  the  confrontation between north and south.

The  Colombian  Association  of  Science  Journalism,  ACPC,  analyzed  the  written media  articles  that  appeared  in  the  pages  of  26  Colombian  newspapers  and  10 international ones, between January 1st and April 30th of 1999. In total we reviewed 199 articles, 156 in the national press and 43 in the international newspapers.

We  focused  mainly  in  three  aspects:  the  responsibility,  the  objectiveness  and  the source  treatment  of  the  newspapers  towards  the  message  they  published.  As  a result  we  can  conclude  that  the  information  was  not  presented  with  accuracy. Scarcely the articles became a good shot; mostly they had big journalistic problems,which  was  reflected  in  the  public  perception  of  transgenic  issues  regarding  the potential goodness or eventual danger of biotechnology research and practice.

With few exceptions, articles did not show that there was a journalistic research of the topic, which lead to a wrong handling of biotechnology concepts and statistics, lack  of  equity  in  sources  and  fact-checking,  great  display  of  tendentious  graphic resources and sensationalism language style.

Everyday, journalists have to think even more about the impact that their published pieces generate on their readers (audience in general). How objective are we when we  consult  our  sources?  Do  we  realize  about  the  interests  behind  every  source? Who benefit from our article?

Journalism  practice  does  not  end  with  publication.  It  deals  also  with  the  public, which  has  been  the  everlasting  forgotten  element  of  the  process.  We  think  that journalists have to really have in mind their audience when they are in front of their PC  writing  a  piece.  Respect  to  readers  and  broadcast  listeners  or  viewers  is  the less that audience deserve, when they receive messages through the mass media.


 

 



 

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.

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