SIRC Media Watch Archive
The Pick – January 2004

Cellular Phones, Public Fears, and a Culture of Precaution. Earlier this month UK government scientists released a report dripping with equivocation over the issue of mobile phone safety. The Advisory Group on Non-Ionising Radiation provided no evidence that mobile phones or transmission masts harmed health but called, anyway, for more research and a cautionary approach meanwhile. While the report stated that the published research "does not give cause for concern," it nevertheless endorsed a previous recommendation of limiting children's exposure to mobile phones. In the absence of any evidence that mobile phones pose a risk, such cautionary advice boils down to a fear of the unknown. On this basis we may as well lock our children in a bomb shelter, and get in with them. Review of Adam Burgess's new book in the BMJ.

Most consumers think parents have main responsibility for children's diets. Most consumers think that parents should be responsible for improving their kids' diets, according to the results of a poll carried out on behalf of the Food Standards Agency. The poll forms part of the Agency's current activity to debate and consider the way foods are currently promoted and advertised to children. When asked to list who should take responsibility for improving children's diets in order of importance, 88% of consumers thought parents had most responsibility. 43% of consumers thought that schools were second most responsible, with food manufacturers third (30%) and broadcasters fourth (26%). Food Standards Agency.

Answer this: who benefits from the salmon scare? This is the true story of the salmon scare which threatened last weekend to bring British salmon farming to its knees. It is a sorry saga of flawed science, selective research and hidden commercial bias. That it was allowed into the pages of the apparently respectable journal Science is inexplicable. Its worldwide promotion by an organisation with a vested interest in undermining farmed Atlantic salmon in favour of the wild Alaskan variety is a scandal. Times.

Jowell: no ban on junk food ads Junk food adverts will not be banned from TV during children's programming, the government has admitted, saying it remained to be convinced that it would have any effect in the battle against Britain's obesity crisis. Guardian.

Healthy co-operation from all is needed to get our kids fighting fit. It’s unfashionable to say it, but unfit kids must bear the brunt of the responsibility for their bulk. Opportunities to exercise exist in schools. In my school, there are lunchtime and after-school classes in cheerleading, American football (coached by a member of the Scottish Claymores), Brazilian dance and martial arts, netball, football, basketball. Sadly, not all events are well attended. Last year, we couldn’t fill a minibus on a free trip to a dry ski slope. Faced with such a poor attitude to healthy living, school sports co-ordinators have fat chance of success. Scotsman.

Mobile phones 'appear to be safe'. UK government scientists have given a cautious thumbs up to mobile phones and transmission masts. A report from the Advisory Group on Non-Ionising Radiation says there is no evidence they harm health. BBC.