"Elixir of youth" or "Cancer potion"? The battle for the purse of the middle-aged woman and the role of the media in reporting themes in medical science

Lotter, Rene Louise (2004-04)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2004.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The popular media ("Media" here referring to newspapers, magazines. television, internet) adds to confusion and panic when reporting on the risks and benefits of Hormone Replacement Therapy for women (HRT). Most reports show bias, cast scientists as villains, or leave the reader more confused than before about terminology. The Southern African media does in general aspire to objectivity towards both the pharmaceutical and natural health industry. However, shallow or inept reporting, the need to generalise complicated findings and dramatise what's regarded as cold scientific news, create this bias and confusion. Misleading health reporting, in South Africa as much as anywhere else in the world, can change health behaviour and can even cost lives. Ethical health reporting can therefore be described as a matter of life and death. This paper aims to analyse the media for biased, confusing and alarmist reporting. It then aims to explain reasons for the bias or confusion. Fourteen reports are analysed. One Time magazine report, and 13 reports selected from the Southern African media.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Berigte oor Hormoonvervangingsterapie (HVT) vir vroue in die media ("Media") hier verwys na koerante, tydskrifte, televisie, internet) dra by tot verwarring en paniek. Die meerderheid berigte is bevooroordeeld, in die sin dat medici as booswigte uitgebeeld word. Indien hulle nie bevooroordeeld is nie, is berigte verwarrend, soms juis in 'n poging om konsepte te vereenvoudig. Die media in Suider Afrika aspireer wel tot objektiwiteit, teenoor beide die farmaseutiese sowel as die holistiese (kruie) industrie. Nietemin, oppervlakkige/oningeligte verslaggewing en die behoefte om ingewikkelde navorsing te vereenvoudig/interessant te maak, dra by tot vooroordeel en verwarring. Misleidende mediese beriggewing in Suid Afrika, net soos in die res van die wêreld, kan mense hoop om besluite te neem wat hul gesondheid kan skaad. Die belang van etiese verslaggewing kan dus as 'n kwessie van lewe en dood beskryf word. Hierdie studie ontleed berigte en ondersoek vooroordeel, verwarring of sensasionalisering. Redes vir bogenoemde word dan bespreek. Veertien berigte word ontleed. (een berig uit die Amerikaanse tydskrif Time, en 13 uit die Suider Afrikaanse media)

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/97628
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