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Mobile phones and health: Media coverage study of German newspapers on possible adverse health effects of mobile phone use

Item Type:Article
Title:Mobile phones and health: Media coverage study of German newspapers on possible adverse health effects of mobile phone use
Creators Name:Elvers, H.D. and Jandrig, B. and Grummich, K. and Tannert, C.
Abstract:The scientific debate about potential risks from the radio frequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMFs) of mobile telecommunication is ongoing, accompanied by considerable media discussion about whether electromagnetic fields from mobile phones cause adverse health effects. Since most people do not make use of scientific databases, the print media are key actors in informing the public about scientific developments concerning potential health risks from mobile telecommunication. In order to analyse the kind of information German print media provide to the public, a media analysis of a sample of German newspapers during the years 2002-2007 was performed: 17 regional and national daily newspapers were analysed along with weekly journals. The results indicate that, besides ambiguous media coverage, there are remarkable differences among the various newspapers in their approach to the topic. Most newspapers highlight unspecified, potentially adverse effects and link mobile phone use to the development of cancer, which is not supported by current scientific knowledge. However, in recent years, a slight shift in the foci of reporting can be observed. As these results show, newspapers increasingly acknowledge the existence of scientific uncertainty and provide more detailed information on the topic.
Keywords:Mobile Phones, Risk, Health, Media, Information, Electromagnetic Fields, Uncertainty
Source:Health, Risk & Society
ISSN:1369-8575
Publisher:Taylor & Francis (U.K.)
Volume:11
Number:2
Page Range:165-179
Date:April 2009
Official Publication:https://doi.org/10.1080/13698570902784273

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