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Public protest, media and risk: Notes on the 1999 WTO demonstrations
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology.
2000 (English)In: Foresight and Precaution / [ed] Cotton, M.P. et al., Rotterdam: AA Balkema , 2000, 35-42 p.Chapter in book (Refereed)Text
Abstract [en]

The public demonstrations that evolved into property destruction and unrest during the December 1999 World Trade Organization (WTO) meeting in Seattle, USA are explored here in relation to how risks are regarded or disregarded in society. This is a central issue in risk perception and communication research. A number of risks were positioned in this dramatic event seldom discussed as safety hazards, namely public protest and police action. Yet these  narratives skirted numerous other issues well within the boundary of conventional risk analysis, for instance environmental destruction and genetically modified foods. As this event proceeded, the mainstream media emphasized clashes between the police and a few hundred anarchists rather than the more pressing global issues found on the WTO’s agenda. The problem posed here is why did mainstream media so strongly emphasize this particular concern while the more harder WTO issues were often avoided in the coverage? The paper argues that such a problem concerns journalistic ethics and practices, as well as the bureaucratic structures of media organizations themselves. It also discusses the scientific paradigm which generally grounds analyses of risk.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Rotterdam: AA Balkema , 2000. 35-42 p.
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Social Anthropology
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-292787OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-292787DiVA: diva2:926646
Available from: 2016-05-09 Created: 2016-05-09 Last updated: 2016-05-12

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