Genetic Protection Initiative


14 Δεκ 2012 (πριν από 8 χρόνια και 5 μήνες)

302 εμφανίσεις

Expertise, media debate and
public dialogue in biotechnology

The case of the Swiss “Genetic Protection Initiative”

and the publiforum on “Genetic engineering and nutrition”

Christian Suter

University of Neuchâtel

Outline of the talk

The “Genetic Protection Initiative” of 1998 and
the context of our research

Experts’ debate on risks, benefits and ethics of
GMO applications

The media debate on the “Genetic Protection

Participatory technology assessement in
biotechnology: the publiforum on “Genetic
engineering and nutrition” (1999)

Concluding remarks

The “Genetic Protection Initiative”

June 7, 1998: 67% of Swiss voters rejected the
called „Genetic Protection Initiative“, which
demanded restriction in biotechnological
research and production

Aim of our research project:

describe and understand the debate between the
scientific experts and “counter” experts

describe and understand the debate in the media

describe and assess the discourse on risks and
benefits of GMO between experts and lay people in
the context of procedures of participatory of
technology assessement (the publiforum on “Genetic
engineering and nutrition”)

Methods and data

Experts discourse

Selection of ca. 200 experts by means of a quasi
delphi with 600 potential experts (spring 1997)

Written questionnaire winter 1997/98 (n=136)

Oral interviews with selected experts (n=51)

Media discourse

Media coverage in 19 newspapers and magazines
between November 1, 1997 and June 30, 1998

(2310 articles and 627 ads)

Participatory technology assessement:

Written questionnaires with the lay participants of the
publiforum, experts, politicians (before and after the
publiforum), participation/observation of publiforum

Media coverage of the publiforum

The experts: a small and
hierarchically structured field

Experts: Research design

Experts‘ assessment of

risks (A) benefits (B) ethics (C)

Media debate

Selected newspaper and magazines

Intensity of the media debate

(number of kilobytes and number of articles by language region)

The experts in the media

(by language region)

Topics of the media debate in
German speaking Switzerland

Topics of the media debate in French
and Italian speaking Switzerland

Weekly number of Advertisments

(pros and cons in 14 newspapers of German speaking Switzerland)

Publiforum on “Genetic
engineering and nutrition”

Publiforum: a group of citizens meets experts in
order to debate a controversial issue (consensus
conferences, citizens’ panels etc.)

Organized by TA
Swiss (1999); procedure:

Selection of a group of citizens (28 persons, at random)

Experts (pros and cons) are asked for participation

The citizens are introduced to the topic

The citizens work out a catalogue of questions and
appoint the experts

In a public event the experts answer the questions

The citizens write a report with recommendations

The report is presented to the public, politics, the media

Evaluation of procedure and
impact of the publiforum

Very positive evaluation of procedure by all actors (e.g.
ability of citizens to quickly learn about a complex topic
and to successfully draft a final report, high quality of the
final report; but there was no genuine debate).

No impact on political decision

Change from extrinsic to intrinsic motivations

Very few contacts of citizens with stakeholders after the
publiforum (except for civil society organizations)

No impact on administration, parliament, government; no
timing with the political agenda

No impact on public and media debate

disappointing media coverage

Only very few media contacts of citizens

Concluding remarks

Experts’ debate: small number of discourse actors with a
dominance of scientific experts and a principal
antagonism between scientific experts on the on hand
and environmental and animal protection associations on
the other hand. Controversial issues have been less
pronounced than expected.

Successful media campaign (“framing”) of the scientific
experts (in German speaking Switzerland)

Importance of the cultural context

Publiforum: partial “de
monopolization of expertise”
(Ulrich Beck, Brian Wynne) but only few impacts on
making processes and on the public debate.