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"Activism in Paradise": A Critical Discourse Analysis of a Public Relations Campaign against Genetic Engineering
Unformatted Document Text:  “Activism in paradise”: A critical discourse analysis of a public Tracking number relations campaign against genetic engineering. ICA-15-10063 14 The objectives of this issues management campaign were to increase public awareness about genetic engineering, to encourage public demonstration against genetic engineering, to influence the Government in favor of limiting genetic engineering to laboratory-based research, and to prevent the introduction of GE field trials (Annette Cotter, GE spokesperson for Greenpeace NZ, personal communication, June 21, 2001). Analysis of the GE Free campaign demonstrated three main communication strategies. These involved, firstly, communicating with publics in an unmediated way and encouraging public lobbying of government, secondly, direct lobbying of government, and, thirdly, creating media events to gain media attention. Up to this point, media reports had included a confusing array of information from a range of interest groups, as well as opinion pieces reflecting different positions on genetic modification from editors, experts, and policy analysts. The coalition provided unmediated information to their publics and contributed to public knowledge via their websites and through public meetings. Individuals were encouraged to lobby government by sending letters to local media, or phoning newstalk radio programmes, and by sending pre-printed postcards to five ministers: Pete Hodgson (Research, Science and Technology), Marian Hobbs (Environment), Jim Sutton (Agriculture), Annette King (Health), and the Prime Minister, Helen Clark. The postcards featured five different slogans and graphics; for example, “Agriculture – the backbone of this country. Don’t muck it up. KEEP NZ FIELDS GE FREE” (GE FREE NZ Ours for the picking!, 2001). Banners, posters, and stickers were also made available to the public, so that

Authors: Henderson, Alison.
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“Activism in paradise”: A critical discourse analysis of a public
Tracking number
relations campaign against genetic engineering.
ICA-15-10063
14
The objectives of this issues management campaign were to increase public awareness about
genetic engineering, to encourage public demonstration against genetic engineering, to
influence the Government in favor of limiting genetic engineering to laboratory-based
research, and to prevent the introduction of GE field trials (Annette Cotter, GE spokesperson
for Greenpeace NZ, personal communication, June 21, 2001). Analysis of the GE Free
campaign demonstrated three main communication strategies. These involved, firstly,
communicating with publics in an unmediated way and encouraging public lobbying of
government, secondly, direct lobbying of government, and, thirdly, creating media events to
gain media attention.
Up to this point, media reports had included a confusing array of information from a range of
interest groups, as well as opinion pieces reflecting different positions on genetic
modification from editors, experts, and policy analysts. The coalition provided unmediated
information to their publics and contributed to public knowledge via their websites and
through public meetings.
Individuals were encouraged to lobby government by sending letters to local media, or
phoning newstalk radio programmes, and by sending pre-printed postcards to five ministers:
Pete Hodgson (Research, Science and Technology), Marian Hobbs (Environment), Jim Sutton
(Agriculture), Annette King (Health), and the Prime Minister, Helen Clark. The postcards
featured five different slogans and graphics; for example, “Agriculture – the backbone of this
country. Don’t muck it up. KEEP NZ FIELDS GE FREE” (GE FREE NZ Ours for the
picking!, 2001). Banners, posters, and stickers were also made available to the public, so that


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