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Coverage of genetically modified organism (GMO) food crops in Kenya by the Daily Nation newspaper of Kenya

Show simple item record ODUNGA, Dennis Akwenda 2021-11-08T09:16:03Z 2021-11-08T09:16:03Z 2016
dc.description.abstract The study was intended to assess the coverage of Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) food crops in Kenya by the Daily Nation newspapers. Public controversies will increase the penetration of the mass media and thereby reduce the disparities in the representation of biotechnology in public. Controversies thus raise awareness and educate the public. Concerns have emerged that though most journalists are well' trained; many lack a scientific education to satisfactorilyhandle subjects like GMO food crops. Globally, a record 175 million hectares of GMOfood crops were grown in 2013 up from 170 million hectares in 2012. Africa has made progress with Burkina Faso and Sudan increasing their GMO acreage. Sub-Saharan Africa has remainedfood insecure for several successive years despite agriculture being its main economic activity. A French Study published in the Journal, "Food and Chemical Toxicology" in November 2012 that was later retracted, questioned the safety of GMO food crops. But, the controversy has continued to elicit mixed reactions that are mainly disseminated by the media. This explains why this study is important to determine the level and nature of coverage of GMO food crops in Kenya by the Daily Nation Newspapers. The main objective of this study was to assess how journalists communicate emerging information about GMO food crops; establish how placement of GMO food crop stories in the Daily Nation Newspaper affects coverage; analyze the perception of Nation Media Group Newspapers' journalists on coverage of GMO food crops; to find out challenges that journalists face when reporting about GMO food crops. The study was guided by the Diffusions of Innovation Theory by Rogers (1995), that emphasizes on information exchange through which one individual communicates a new idea to one or severalothers. Out of a population of 32 journalists targeted, a response rate of 100 per cent was realized through purposive sampling method from a sample size of 10 respondents who were interviewedon this subject. Content analysis was carried out on 89 Daily Nation newspapers out of which 18 had news stories on GMO food crops, used 21 times. The Daily Nation was selected for the study because it leads in circulation and readership, and the four months from October 1, 2012 to January 31, 2013, were appropriate because the debate on GMO food crops was at its peak, following the publication of the a French study on September 19, 2012 that linked GMO food crops to cancer. Both quantitative and qualitative data were analyzed using descriptive research design to obtain opinions about the naturally occurring behavior, perceptions or other characteristics. The study found that coverage of issues touching on GMO food crops is poor given that few stories were published each month. This was corroborated by lack of clear guidelines to promote consistency in coverage of GMO issues. Journalists as purveyors of information on GMO food crops mainly focus on emerging issues. Journalists are dissuaded from focusing on GMO issues due to provision of biased information, use of technical terms and provision of conflicting information. Based on the findings, it is recommended that media managers address inconsistent coverage by re-viewing their in-house policies to strengthen the role of the media in educating and informing the public. Government officials must rethink about their communication policies to effectively engage the media and enhance accurate and timely coverage. Lastly, journalists need refresher courses and trainings particularly on media ethics to promote balanced coverage of issues. en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.publisher Maseno University en_US
dc.title Coverage of genetically modified organism (GMO) food crops in Kenya by the Daily Nation newspaper of Kenya en_US

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