Mauro Vigani considers the role of mass media in forming GMO regulations in newly published book

CCRI’s Mauro Vigani has contributed a chapter in a new book just published by Cambridge University Press.

The book is called ‘Genetically Modified Organisms in Developing Countries: Risk Analysis and Governance’ (Edited by Ademola A. Adenle, A.A, Morris, E.J. and Murphy, D.J.) and Mauro’s chapter is entitled ‘The role of mass media and lobbies in the formulation of GMO regulations’.

Mass media are intermediaries between citizens and governments in the formulation of national GMO regulation, and are used by different interest groups in an attempt to influence consumer attitudes and policy outcome. Mauro’s chapter looks at the channels through which mass media influence the public perception towards GM crops and food and the achievement of a political equilibrium to formulate GMO regulations, based on social science and political economy literature. Correlation between indicators of regulation quality, mass media and the restrictiveness of GMO regulations are also shown, distinguishing between developed and less developed countries. Finally, recommendations for communication strategies are derived, taking into account the challenges of modern media and the regulation of new plant breeding techniques.

This chapter links in to an interview Mauro gave to WIRED USA back in May 2017, which focussed on a new gene-editing technique used to make tomato resistant to powdery mildew, a serious agricultural problem that takes a lot of chemicals to control. The article explored this new technology and the problem faced by scientists because of the difficulty of EU regulations, which currently make this modified tomato essentially illegal.