Dr Craig Dalton, Public Health Physician and Senior Lecturer in the University of Newcastle’s School of Medical Practice and Public Health, has been published in today’s issue of the prestigious Medical Journal of Australia. He argues that the “shadow roles” of journalists and public health officials will inevitably bring them into conflict over the reporting of public health crises.

Dr Dalton says that, as well as providing information to the public, journalists must also generate “entertainment value” in the form of contradiction, controversy, sensationalism, and tragedies in order to enhance advertising and shareholder revenue for their employers.

This, he says, brings them into direct conflict with public health officials whose shadow role is to minimise the political risks of the elected branch of government.

“Uncertainty, controversy, and imperfections in policy and response are intolerable to western governments seeking to manage ‘issues’,” Dr Dalton said.

The Medical Journal of Australia is a publication of the Australian Medical Association.

Click here to read Dr Dalton’s article.