Sicurezza alimentare e comunicazione del rischio: il caso Aviaria
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The contemporary society is countersigned by a progressive substitution of the concept of fear by that of risk, which contemplates the rational possibility of control on the dangerousness of a given phenomenon by the individual and the system. The article starts from the terminological and conceptual distinction between risk and danger, and indicates then two types of communication: the communication of crisis and the communication of the risk. On this last one strongly weighs the communicative intervention of the media. The probability of risk varies as the system ability to know how to react to the emergency situations varies, and not simply with the possibility in itself that the event happens: according to this approach it is therefore necessary to elaborate tools to prevent and check the risks, through the management of the system efficiency, regularizing the information flows among the subjects composing the communicative chain of risk and emergency: institutions, media and citizens. The analysis of a particular case (the diffusion of H5N1 virus – generally known as being responsible for the «avian influence» – in the period included between August 2005 and March 2006, in the informative coverage operated by the «Corriere della Sera» and by the Tg1) allows identifying some problems of risk communication by the Institutions and to verify their consequences in food consumption in Italy. It emerges that the media discourses are very powerful in creating awareness of the danger, but they are contradictory in creating a correct perception of the risk; secondly, the media discourses seem to be weak in driving the consumers’ behaviour: the population manifests a certain distrust towards the evaluation of the risk operated by «expert systems», deciding alone the purchasing behaviour to be adopted. The last part of the article describes a best practice: the planning and realization of a food safety manual edited by an Italian Ministry, starting from the awareness acquired during the avian emergency.
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