Academic journal article Journal of Sustainable Development

Analysis of Newspaper Coverage of Food Security through a Disability Studies Lens

Academic journal article Journal of Sustainable Development

Analysis of Newspaper Coverage of Food Security through a Disability Studies Lens

Article excerpt

Abstract

Food security is an issue of global concern recognized by numerous international and national agencies. It has been mentioned over twenty times in the Rio+20 outcome document The Future We Want. It is recognized as an essential human security by the World Health Organization Commission for Human Security and as a social determinant of health. Food security agendas are enacted in many places locally to globally. Media are to inform the public on issues of importance for the public. Disabled people are part of the public and disabled people are one group experiencing over proportional levels of food insecurity. We investigated the food security coverage of various newspapers through a disability studies lens. To obtain quantitative data on the visibility of disabled people and other groups in the food security discourse the following newspapers were investigated: The Globe and Mail (Canada), National Post (Canada), Calgary Herald (Canada), New York Times (USA), The Guardian (UK), The Times (UK), and the Canadian Newsstand complete, a collection of 300 Canadian newspapers. Quantitative and qualitative data on what food security issues were reported was obtained from The Globe and Mail (Canada), Calgary Herald (Canada) and the New York Times (USA). We discuss how issues reported around food security are influenced by disabled people and how they could impact disabled people. We found very little to no mentioning of disabled people within food security coverage. Our data also reveals the absence of coverage of other socially disadvantaged groups such as indigenous people and immigrants and a lack of a human rights or ethics angle. We posit that many of the food security problems mentioned are of relevance to and experienced by disabled people and other socially disadvantaged groups such as indigenous people and immigrants however the reader won't make the linkage by reading the newspapers we investigated. We conclude that the utility of the newspapers covered in advancing food security for disabled people and other socially disadvantaged groups is very low.

Keywords: content analysis; newspapers; public perception, food security, disabled people, people with disabilities

1. Introduction

1.1 The Issue of Food Security

The World Health Organization webpage uses the food security definition of the 1996 World Food Summit stating that food security exists "when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life" (World Health Organization, 2014). However many definitions exist for the concept of food security (Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, 2003) Food security is a social determinant of health (Public Health Agency of Canada, 2005; Raphael, Curry-Stevens, & Bryant, 2008). Food insecurity is, according to the Canadian Report Household Food Insecurity in Canada 2011 a "significant social and public health problem in Canada. In 2011, 1.6 million Canadian households, or slightly more than 12%, experienced some level of food insecurity. This amounts to nearly one in eight households, and 3.9 million individuals in Canada, including 1.1 million children. There were 450,000 more Canadians living in households affected by food insecurity in 2011 than in 2008" (Tarasuk, Mitchell, & Dachner, 2013). The same report highlighted that 66% of households on social assistance; 37% on employment insurance or workers' compensation; 35% of female lone parent; 33% of low income; 27% of Aboriginal People and 25% of people who rent instead of owning a home experience food insecurity (Tarasuk et al., 2013). According to the Canadian Report Household Food Insecurity in Canada 2012 "4 million individuals in Canada, including 1.15 million children, experienced some level of food insecurity. This represents nearly 13% of Canadian households" (Tarasuk, Mitchell, & Dachner, 2014). The 2012 report states that 70% on social assistance, 38. …

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