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Crop Biotech Update

Chinese Newspaper Coverage of Genetically Modified Organisms

May 18, 2012

News media play a significant role in reflecting public perceptions about health and technology issues, as well as policy development. Thus, Li Du and Christen Rachul from the University of Alberta in Canada analyzed the news coverage of genetic modified organisms in two major Chinese newspapers– People's Daily and Guangming Daily.

By searching in the Chinese National Knowledge Infrastructure Core Newspaper Database (CNKI-CND), the research team collected 77 articles about GMOs published from January 2002 to August 2011. In these articles, 29 different kinds of GMOs were reported, with GM cotton as the most frequently reported. They also discovered that the articles discussed the benefits of GMOs more frequently than the possible risks. Almost half of the articles were supportive of GM technology R&D programs and GM cotton adoption, while the remaining portion had neutral tone. Possible risks associated to GMOs were mentioned in some articles but there were no articles expressing negative tone towards GMOs.

Based on the findings, the Chinese print media is supportive of GMOs. The authors recommend that the media, together with the scientists and the government, must work together make sure that science communication is accurate and fair.

Read the abstract at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22551150.