Objective: To evaluate if and how the current degree of scientific uncertainty about the safety of fish consumption is incorporated at the media level. Design: We used a dedicated software (TalTacR ) to investigate the content of 169 news articles related to ‘mercury and fish consumption’ that appeared from 1990 to 2010 in the two Italian broadsheets with the highest circulation figures, in order to identify journalistic frames used in the coverage of benefits v. risks associated with fish consumption. Hypotheses were made on how the public might change fish consumption patterns as a result of media coverage. Setting: Italy. Results: The two newspapers have different agendas in covering the issue. La Repubblica appears to support the view that, besides health benefits, there may be risks associated with fish consumption, while Corriere della Sera emphasizes health benefits more than possible risks. Depending on the preferred information source, the public could: (i) reduce its fish intake; (ii) increase its fish intake; or (iii) become confused about the problem and sceptical towards the media, as a result of conflicting journalistic frames. Conclusions: The Italian media, in cooperation with scientists, public health nutritionists and dietitians, should place more emphasis on the existence of a few fish species with high to very high Hg levels and relatively low contents of beneficial n-3 fatty acids (e.g. swordfish and shark). This would enable consumers to make more educated purchasing decisions to maximize the benefits of n-3 intake while reducing possible risks from consuming Hg-contaminated fish.
|Titolo:||The media and the benefits vs. risks of fish consumption: a case study from the Italian press|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2012|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||Articolo su Rivista|