Charities wade in on Leveson and media reporting of science

The Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) together with Cancer Research UK and Wellcome Trust have this afternoon published their response to the Leveson inquiry into the culture, practice and ethics of the press.  See first item listed under 2012 on this page at the AMRC website.

The submission makes good points and I learnt a thing or two about how practices and approaches to science reporting are changing.  Note the reference in it to The Guardian for instance.

Of course, today we have a real-live case study in the media with the news of the Human Fertilisation and Embryo Authority’s (HFEA) public consultation on the acceptability of new techniques to treat mitochondiral disease and the associated Wellcome Trust £4.4 million grant to Newcastle University to build a new centre to lead research in this area.

My sense is that media reporting of this sort of ‘high-politics’ event in science seems to have improved and is continuing to improve.

The more difficult issue is the daily churn of lower-lying misinformation in the media about science or more specifically health research and associated health claims on which people may act.  That seems a somewhat harder nut to crack.  Some of the proposals made by AMRC et al would help.  But there are wider issues around training etc that could also have a positive impact.

Anyway, I am pleased that they’ve done this and brought this to the attention of an inquiry whose recommendations will have a long-lasting impact on the culture and practices of the press.

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