Biotech Updates

Philippine Media Plays Key Role in Public Understanding of Biotechnology

December 3, 2010

The Philippine print media was found to play a significant role in shaping public opinion on biotechnology. This was shared by Dr. Mariechel Navarro, Manager of the Global Knowledge Center on Crop Biotechnology of the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) in her presentation entitled How print media defines crop biotechnology: A decade's analysis of news coverage and framing.

The study covered and analyzed biotech news articles from 1999 to 2009, in three major newspapers in the Philippines: Manila Bulletin, Philippine Star and the Philippine Daily Inquirer. It was found that 42 percent of the articles were written in positive tone, while the top source for biotech information was the government, followed by the civil society and the academe. Dr. Navarro also noted that the top keyword used in the articles was "GMO" or "GM" referring to genetically modified organisms, followed by the word biotechnology.

Dr. Navarro concluded that there is now a more open communication between writers and scientists, and that more interactions between the two (through field and laboratory visits) result to science articles. With this, science communication takes on a new responsibility, which, according to her  "is a process of generating new, mutually acceptable knowledge, attitude, and practices."

The presentation was conducted in a "Seminar on Biotechnology: Communication and Technology Impact," held on November 23, 2010 at the SM Mall of Asia, Manila, Philippines. It was co-organized by the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA), the Agricultural Biotechnology Support Project II (ABSPII), and the Southeast Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) Biotechnology Information Center, as part of the celebration of the 6th Philippine National Biotechnology Week.

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