The Philippines is the first and only Asian country to approve genetically modified (GM) Bt corn for commercialization. Even prior to its approval and eventual commercialization, the print media assumed a critical role in providing information about biotechnology and in documenting the scientific process that led to its adoption by farmers. To develop an understanding of the media coverage of modern biotechnology in the Philippines, a ten- year study (2000 to 2009) was conducted to find out how the country’s three major national newspapers Manila Bulletin, Philippine Daily Inquirer and Philippine Star defined biotechnology through the use of metaphors. Categorized mostly under fear- and promise domains, metaphors were dominant during the first half of the decade due to uncertainty and unfamiliarity of the technology and the absence of concrete biotech products. An analysis of metaphors showed exaggerated claims and drama initially but a shift towards straight science-based reporting citing authoritative sources was observed over time. This shows the ability of the Philippine press to define accurately and describe the technology. It was able to negotiate meanings with scientists and key stakeholders enabling it to evolve from sensational writing to clear definitions of concepts and processes.
Key words: Media representation of science, metaphor analysis, print media, agricultural biotechnology.
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