Communicating scientific issues responsibly

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A MEDIA workshop on Food Safety: Importance of Science Communication took place in Hanoi in November 2018 to foster an open discussion between media reporters and scientists, through the presentations of experts from Vietnam, the United States, and Europe on the importance of applying scientific principles in the food safety assessment process.

The goal of the workshop was to merge the gap between scientific topics and mass communication to level up the public awareness of this issue and thereby confirming the role of journalism in distributing information accurately and responsibly.

Food safety is a special concern of the government and the social community. The press has helped the public become more aware of the production process, how to develop the food they consume daily and promote safety and nutrition.

Although the concerns about food safety are also attractive topics, they are very vulnerable to exploitation and “exaggeration”. This shows that the responsibility of the media in providing scientific and complete information is
becoming increasingly important, especially in helping the public to gain knowledge before making smart consumer choices.

Professor David Zaruk from Odisee University, Belgium, shared, “The media works in a highly reactive environment. However, it must be recognized clearly that 80% of the public has almost no clear opinion. With the  explosion of social networks and the increasing interaction in today’s communication environment, official media channels that want to keep the level of credibility with the public need to simplify the message, compare information more often with scientists and limit sensory inference.