Celebrating 25 Years of Scoop
Special: Up To 25% Off Scoop Pro Learn More

Search

 

Cablegate: Results Report: Experts Refute Media Sceptic's

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

281432Z Nov 05

UNCLAS PRETORIA 004696

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/PD - TROOKARD; AF/S - MTABLER-STONE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO SF
SUBJECT: RESULTS REPORT: EXPERTS REFUTE MEDIA SCEPTIC'S
CLAIMS ON BIOTECHNOLOGY; MPP GOALS: EP-ECONOMIC
PROSPERITY AND SECURITY


1. Activity: Four experts attending a USAID
biotechnology conference answered local reporters'
questions on genetically modified (GM) food at an Embassy-
organized media roundtable on November 17. An article the
following day in a leading South African daily indicated
the roundtable succeeded in challenging the often one-
sided, negative reporting on biotechnology found in much
of the local media.

2. Four journalists participated in the roundtable,
including a reporter for The Star newspaper (daily
circulation nearly 175,000) whose previous articles on
the subject provided an uncritical platform for activists
opposed to the use of GM food. During the roundtable, the
Star reporter raised several questions challenging the
use of GM organisms as unsafe for consumers and
uneconomic for farmers, but the panelists convincingly
refuted the premise behind each question. Her article the
following day, while hardly unbiased, nonetheless
represented the first time this reporter had given
significant voice to supporters of GM food. Embassy
Pretoria views this as a development that underlines the
importance of proactively engaging critics of U.S. policy
- in this case of reporters who are skeptical that
agricultural biotechnology is an important tool in the
fight against hunger in Africa.

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

3. Other journalists who attended represented the state-
run radio broadcast corporation, South Africa's main
Afrikaans-language daily and an English-language weekly
for farmers. We expect feature reports from those
journalists in the coming days/weeks.

4. Results: Encouraging. Although the roundtable
generated only one immediate article, the event provided
an important forum for South African journalists who
report on GM food to interview some of Africa's most
prominent and eloquent supporters of biotechnology. What
they learned at the roundtable should infuse their
reporting in the future, and they will be able to turn to
these expert panelists as sources when they write on the
subject in the future. Already, one journalist who had
been unremittingly critical of GM food has for the first
time given voice to Africans who support U.S. efforts to
invest in agricultural biotechnology to fight hunger.

TEITELBAUM

© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
 
 
 
World Headlines

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.