Program 1. Independent Science Journalism

Science has become a battleground for framing and answering questions vital to future well-being. Differing ideas about health, the environment, agriculture and biotechnology persist in areas where neither scientists nor the public seem able to determine exactly where the weight of scientific evidence falls. In its role as the collective voice of science, the science media plays a strong role in weighting this evidence.

Science, to function in the public interest, must be supported and challenged by a knowledgeable and independent science media, just as a strong independent media underpins a functioning democracy. At present, these qualities are largely lacking and the science media functions more as a public relations machine than an informed and objective provider of information.

As a consequence, scientific misinformation leads to poor decision-making and to misdirected and ill-informed policy. In the worse case, such policies exacerbate rather than correct root problems. This is particularly true in food and agriculture, where misinformation, often originating in biased media coverage, continues to prevent development of healthy, equitable and sustainable systems of food and agriculture.

The Bioscience Resource Project produces Independent Science News as a public interest counterweight. Independent Science News covers issues in food and agriculture ignored or inadequately reported by other media and puts scientific findings into context. Its challenging and topical content informs and empowers scientists, NGOs, policymakers, regulators, the media and the public.