Western media performance in the reporting of Asian food security issue

In the past two month, this blog focused on the food safety reports, and explored the western media performance in reporting this issue. It can be summarized in following aspects.

Firstly, with the development of the Internet and news industry, there is a trend that the western news outlets pay more and more attention to the development issues of developing countries and the least developed countries, and food safety is one of the problem that western media concerned.

Secondly, in the reporting of Asia food security issue, the western media are more likely to focus on the problems or potential problem that might exist in Asia. This kind of report can help Asian countries to realize the problems they had, and find a way to alleviate these problems. Nevertheless, there was also some positive news about some measure to improvement of food security in Asia, and it can help the nations to build the confidence of food mechanism improvement.

Finally, the numbers of news reports of the food security issue in Asia or in others nations are not stable. It means that this kind of report can be affected by the other news, such as the political news – UK general election and some breaking news like Germanwings Flight 9525 crash.

In all, according to Wilson et al, media represent a crucial avenue through which consumers receive information during food incidents. The media therefore play a vital role in disseminating public health messages.[1] Besides, news outlet should keep the report objectively and factually without bias.


[1] Wilson, A.M. et al., 2014. Media actors ’ perceptions of their roles in reporting food incidents. BMC Public Health, pp.1–11.


Chinese development: concern from the western media 2

This is a news report from BBC in the end of 2012, the day of world food day. The different of this report with other print or online news outlets’ report about the Asian food security issue is that, it contained video to support the main view of it.

This report underlined the Asia food security and connected with the rising food price. It used the words to illustrate the basic food situation in Asia, and introduced the status of the guest in the video report. Besides, in the video, Tony Nash took China as an example to analyze the relationship between the food price and the food security problem.

BBC as the biggest television news outlet in the United Kingdom, covers comprehensive news report in the news programs. BBC is the main conveyor of the national debate and more likely to put the emphasis on the domestic news.[1] However, with the development of the world, especially the rapid development of some the developing countries like China, BBC started to pay more attention to Chinese development, and tried to find the defect of the development process and analyze it from its own point of view. On one hand, it shows that the news is becoming more and more international. On the other hand, it can help the developing countries to rethink the flaws in the process of development, and get better improvement in the next few decades.


Original report: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-19957723

[1] Aitken, R. (2013) Can we still trust the BBC? London: Bloomsbury.

Chinese development: concern from the western media

Chinese government raises a new potatoes production strategy recently and had attracted attention from the western media. However, why does the ‘super rich’ China still has food shortage issue? And how does the Chinese government transfer the citizen’s attitude of potatoes from a kind of vegetable to the carbohydrate staples? The Euromonitor International trying to explain these problems in the report of China Banks on Potatoes for Food Security.

In my opinion, this is a good news report in this topic because of following reasons: Firstly, it almost a comprehensive report that contains the reasons for potatoes strategy, current food situation in China, and analyzed the possibility for Chinese to realize it.

Besides, actually, it is not a big deal for the foreign media to report the food strategy in China. According to Himelboim, Chang, and McCreery, Global news media, particularly those located in the developed countries, have long been accused of creating and sustaining a pattern of hierarchical international news flow and coverage, often giving priority to the Western affluent countries over the developing ones.[1] However, some of the relevant western media reported this topic. Moreover, the proportion of reports of the development news of developing countries and the least developed countries increased in the western media because of the Internet, and the promotion of China’s international status made the western media to pay more attention to the Chinese development news as well.


Original report: http://blog.euromonitor.com/2015/04/china-banks-on-potatoes-for-food-security.html

[1] Himelboim, I., Chang, Tk., Mccreery, S., (2010). International network of foreign news coverage: old global hierarchies in a new online world. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 2010 Sum, Vol.87(2), pp.297-314.

Food security and the environment problem in Iran

Why the food security issue can be existed in Asia? Most of the report about the Asian food safety problem did not mention the cause of food security. However, in the report from Payvand, an American website that dedicated to Iranian issues, it focus on the potential problems, especially in the area of food security, which will be brought by the climate change. Besides, water supplies and rising population can intensify the food safety issue in this area as well.

It raised the severe situation that the countries of Middle East have to face with, and also included some quotation from the renowned American environmental analyst to make the news more reliable.

Nevertheless, it cannot be seen as a perfect report. It only focused on the potential problems, but did not make further research about how to deal with this issue. What the audience expects for the news coverage is immediacy of reporting and the watchdog role, as well as the demand that news media enable citizens to develop their own opinions. In addition, civic demands build upon the professional role conception of journalists, emphasizing their interpretive, critical, and disseminating tasks[1]. In this report, it only showed the views of experts and some government speech, which was not contain the comprehensive investigation of this issue, such as the real situation in this area, the actions that might be taken by the government even by the citizen.


Original website: http://www.payvand.com/news/15/apr/1068.html

[1]  Wurff, R., and Schoenbach, K., (2014) Civic and Citizen Demands of News Media and Journalists: What Does the Audience Expect from Good Journalism? Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, Vol.91(3), pp.433-451

Why UK media did not pay attention to the World Health Day?

The World Health Day is a global health awareness day. However, UK media did not pay attention to the World Health Day this year, it was hard to find the coverage about it in most news outlets.

In my opinion, there are two potential reasons for the UK news outlets did not focus on the World Health Day this year.

Firstly, the news outlets choose the news for their agenda setting, and there are more important news in this period, such as the 2015 United Kingdom general election. It will be hold on 7 May, and each party began to advertise their policy and concepts from the end of March. This big event gained the attention from the UK news outlets and occupied large space in the newspapers. Agenda setting refers to the idea that there is a strong correlation between the emphasis that mass media place on certain issues and the importance attributed to these issues by mass audiences.[1] Therefore it is reasonable for UK media to put the emphasis on the domestic election, which is more attractive to the audiences.

Secondly, UK as a developed country does not have much food security problems, so it does not have the necessity to report the official news release especially it underline the severe situation in the Southeast Asia.

In all, UK news outlets did not show the professional and comprehensive side of this health safety report. Nevertheless, it might focus on more news-worth events, and that is a part of the agenda setting for the UK media.


[1] McCombs, M. E., and Shaw, D. L. (1972). The agenda-setting function of mass media. Public Opinion Quarterly, 36(2), 176–187.

India media: World Health Day – make the food security as a priority issue

Food safety issue was raised as the theme for the 2015 World Health Day, it especially emphasize on the food security issue in Africa and South-East Asia. According to the report from the Times of India, in the South East Asian region, diarrhoeal diseases continue to be one of the top three leading causes of deaths, food safety still one of the biggest problems for some Asian countries.

Before the day of World Health Day, the India health ministry and World Health Organization (WHO) urged the nation of the world to put the food safety issue in the first place. It was released by many Southeast Asian countries, such as India, and Malaysia. Many of the online Indian media outlets such as the Times of India, The Hindu, and the India Express all mentioned the theme in different way.

For example, the report of “WHO, Indian health ministry bat for food safety” from the Times of India showed the current situation of Indian food security, and the significance of alleviating the food safety issue. However, the Hindu put the emphasis on how to solve this problem.

As the food safety is a domestic issue for India, the media outlets pay much attention to it. Meanwhile, different news outlets have different strategies to report the news, including the agenda setting and news framing. According to Shoemaker and Reese, ‘‘framing’’ refers to modes of presentation that journalists and other communicators use to present information in a way that resonates with existing underlying schemas among their audience.[1] Different news content can provide audience a variety of views to understand the news in-depth.


original website:



[1] Shoemaker, P. J., and Reese, S. D. (1996). Mediating the message: Theories of influences on mass media content. 2nd ed.. White Plains, NY: Longman.

Chinese food security issue in Western media 2

As I mentioned in last blog, China as a developing country still has some problem in the process of development, such as the food safety issue. Fortunately, the Chinese government has already been aware of this issue and gradually takes some steps to improve this situation.

According to the report of food navigator Asia edition, 2015 could be a landmark year for China to reform the system of food security. The development of the society is inseparable with the policy that made by the authority. Besides, the politics can be a significant element that affects the media performance.

This news report focus on the government contribution of food safety issue, which is kind of similar with the coverage of Chinese media. Although it is a positive report for Chinese society, the content of this report made it seems like a mouthpiece of Chinese government. Sometimes, media work as an information provider, spreading the objective messages to the public. It is not wrong for the media outlets to reports the positive aspects of government actions. However, it cannot lose the function of watchdog, which means it has to find its own voice and began to express itself as watchdog, educator and entertainer.[1]


Original website: www.foodnavigator-asia.com/Regions/China/China-s-make-or-break-year-for-food-safety-reform

[1] Malila, V., (2012). Globalization and communications policy: the role of the media in communications policy development in Kenya between 2002 and 2009.

Chinese food security issue in Western media 1

With the great economic development of China, the food shortage issue was almost solved by the Chinese government in the beginning of 21st century. However, market-oriented economy lead to the cutthroat competition in some field. One of the biggest problems is the quality of food. There were a series of reports that show the food quality problem in China, and it is extremely urgent issue for Chinese government to deal with.

There are some foreign organizations devote to helping to promote the food quality in China and citizens’ consciousness of food security. For example, a European website foodnavigator.com launched an Asia edition for keeping a watchful eye on the news about the food security. This online news organization issued a report about the ConsumerLab, an US food nutrition test organization, which launched the Chinese-language services to test the quality of some Chinese food brand. This is almost objective news report that shows investigating of the nutrition of some Chinese food.

The framing of news outlets can affect the view of public. Most of the people trust in the reports from the news outlet, therefore developing trust with the public and a good reputation through the presentation and reporting of accurate, trustworthy information was seen as vital by media actors.[1] It is necessary for media outlets reports to edit the news objectively, and balance the rates of negative news and positive news.


Original website: http://www.foodnavigator-asia.com/Formulation/ConsumerLab-takes-its-ingredient-safety-reports-to-China

[1] Wilson, A.M. et al., 2014. Media actors ’ perceptions of their roles in reporting food incidents. BMC Public Health, pp.1–11.

Malnutrition in picture: vivid image of food security problem in Nepal


  • Jamuna arrived at the home at 37 months old weighing 6.5kg and suffering from 90% malnutrition. In the three months since his treatment started, Jamuna has gained 2kg and is now less than 60% malnourished.
  • Photograph: Omar Havana

According to Asian Development Bank, “undernourishment in childhood has been shown to be significantly linked with lower school performance, lower salaries and income in adult life, and lower birth weight for the next generation.” [1] Nutrition for citizen, especially for children, is a real developmental problem for most Asian countries.

The Guardian online released a collection of photos of the malnourished children in Nepal to show the current situation of food security issue in Nepal. It was released almost the same time with a critical report named “can Nepal achieve zero hunger in 10 years?”

However, these photos are different from the skeptical topic of the report, it showed some of the truthful and positive image in Nepal, such as mothers try to learn how to feed their children nutritious and balanced meals based on locally available food. Besides, each picture has a short description to illustrate the meaning of the picture.

The data of written report are more convincing, however, it cannot express the real situation as vivid as picture. The photograph could demonstrate the children’s condition in Nepal graphically, and show the mothers’ effort of helping their children to improve the level of nutrition through a series of photos. It is also an easier way for audiences to get the point directly, and this is one of the reasons that why most of all news reports are matched with a relevant picture while it released.


Original website: http://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/gallery/2015/feb/05/rehabilitating-nepals-malnourished-children

[1] Asian Development Bank, (2013) Food Security in Asia and the Pacific. Asian Development Bank: Mandaluyong City, Philippines.

Critical review of Nepal’s zero hunger challenge

Nepal has joined the United Nation Secretary General’s Zero Hunger Challenge in the end of 2014. It was a tremendous attempt for Nepal to fight with hunger issue. However, the Guardian online raised a doubt that does it can be realized in 2025 with a third of children under five underweight.

According to the report of the Guardian online, malnutrition is a serious issue in Nepal, and there are only ten years for the Nepal’s government and some international assistant organizations to solve this problem. The Guardian online explores the root of malnutrition in Nepal, and the government performance on this issue to demonstrate the doubt of possibility of its realization.

Escobar (1995) pointed out that, “No aspect of development appears to be as straightforward as hunger.” He also mentioned that, “The symbolism of hunger, however, has proven powerful throughout the ages.”[1] The food shortage issue has been alleviated in 21st century. However, Hiroyuki Konuma, assistant director-general and regional representative for Asia and the Pacific, represented the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), described the hunger problem issue like that, “While the world presently produces enough food for all, it is not evenly distributed”.[2]

The guardian online focused on the new development of food shortage issue in the least developed countries and reported the issue with critical view, which can show the potential problem in the Zero Hunger Challenge program. It can help the public and the authority recognized the problem comprehensively and thoroughly.


original report: http://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2015/feb/05/can-nepal-reach-zero-hunger-10-years

[1] Escobar, A. (1994). Encountering development: the making and unmaking of the third world. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

[2] Nepal launches National Zero Hunger Challenge, available at: http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO1412/S00159/nepal-launches-national-zero-hunger-challenge.htm