Biotech Updates

Press Freedom and Biotech Policy on News Coverage of GM Crops

November 7, 2012

A study was conducted to assess if a country's press freedom and national biotech policy affect news reporting on GM crops. Using the principle of social amplification of risk framework, agenda setting, and framing theory, Ruby Asoro of Iowa State University conducted content analysis of newspapers in Southeast Asia countries particularly Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Results showed that the more lax the press status of a county was, the more stories were released using more frames. Precautionary biotech policy encouraged citing of more sources. The diversity of sources also led to a more polarized reporting that tended to be focused on the negative claims about the technology. In all countries studied, the most quoted sources were politicians and government institutions followed by international and local NGOs. The top frames used in news stories were policy/legal issues, safety issues, and food security.

Read the complete article at the Digital Repository of Iowa State University: