The effects of press freedom and biotech policy on Southeast Asian newspapers' coverage of genetically modified crops
This study determines whether a country's degree of press freedom and national biotech policy influence its newspapers' performance in reporting about GM crops. Using the tenets of social amplification of risk framework, agenda setting, and framing theory, a content analysis of articles from newspapers in the Southeast Asian countries of Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam was conducted.
Results reveal that a freer press status fosters more stories and use of frames while a precautionary biotech policy favors the citing of more sources. The diversity of sources, however, produced a more polarized coverage that tended to be negative toward this innovation. Across the nations, the most dominant sources cited were politicians and government institutions followed by international and local NGOs. The top frames were those that discussed policy/legal issues, safety issues, and food security.