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Research project DR/29 (Research action DR)

Persons :

Description :

The project ‘nEWS on EWS’ analyzes how newsmedia inform the public about new dangerous illicit drugs that are detected by the Early Warning System in Belgium (BEWS). Together with an analysis of the most important characteristics (style and content) of these messages, we take a look at the possible influences of these news messages on the perception and knowledge of the general public and drug users in particular.

Four objectives are put forward in this research project:

First of all, a literature review will be done in order to investigate the (possible) role of news coverage in creating an awareness about the risks of using drugs, as well as the quality standards of risk information, the effectiveness of health-related messages related to drugs, and the relationship between the characteristics of messages and the effects they have on knowledge, attitude and behavior of its receivers. The literature review also will contain information about the implementation of Early Warning Systems and communication systems on new dangerous illicit drugs in different countries.

Second, we will conduct a content analysis on warning messages about illicit drugs. We will measure the frequency of the messages that are published in the newsmedia and evaluate how the public receives these messages. Both newspapers and the television news will be analyzed for both parts of the country. Within the framework of this analysis, we will especially pay attention to the placement, length, visual support of the message, the type of message and news values.

Third, we will investigate the quality and perception of news messages, the communication processes of the government and the use of the EWS. This will be done through focus group interviews with both professionals and other citizens in both parts of the country.

Finally, we will measure the actual reach of warning messages among the general public. This will be carried out through a telephone survey among 1700 respondents living in Belgium. The questionnaire will be administered at the moment a drug related incident occurs and a warning message is sent out.

The results of this study will lead to policy recommandations and road maps for efficient communication.

Documentation :

nEWS on EWS : waarschuwen voor gevaarlijke drugs : analyse van het early warning system in België  Gelders, Dave - Patesson, René - Vandoninck, Sofie ... et al  Gent : Academia Press, 2008 (PB6220)

nEWS on EWS : waarschuwen voor gevaarlijke drugs: analyse van het early warning system in België : samenvatting    Brussel : Federaal Wetenschapsbeleid, 2008 (SP1911)
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nEWS on EWS : résumé    Bruxelles : Politique scientifique fédérale : 2008 (SP1912)
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nEWS on EWS : Warnings for dangerous drugs: analysis of the early warning system in Belgium : summary    Brussels : Belgian Science Policy, 2008 (SP1913)
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