Inderscience Publishers

Differences in global risk perceptions of biotechnology and the political economy of the media

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The application of biotechnology to agriculture is highly controversial between consumers and lawmakers across the globe, especially in the case of Genetically Modified Foods (GMFs). Consumer attitudes toward GMFs are largely negative in the developed nations. However, studies conducted in Lesser Developed Countries (LDCs) find that consumer attitudes toward GMFs are positive in some cases. Using a theoretical model of the political economy of the media, we argue that the increased time cost of obtaining media information or 'stories' in LDCs leads to a lower consumption on average of biotechnology information, especially negative information than that of the developed countries. In addition, ideological influences on media firms in many LDCs leads to differing supplies of biotechnology stories between LDCs and developed nations. Hence, reduced consumption of biotechnology media stories and the potential for increased positive stories contributes to lower risk perceptions among consumers in LDCs.

Keywords: biotechnology, genetically modified foods, GMFs, lesser developed countries, LDCs, risk perception, GM foods, media information, media stories, ideological influences

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