How did media present the radiation risks after the Fukushima accident: a content analysis of newspapers in Europe

Research output: Contribution to report/book/conference proceedingsIn-proceedings paperpeer-review


  • Yevgeniya Tomkiv
  • Tanja Perko
  • Deborah Oughton
  • Iztok Prezelj
  • Eduardo Gallego
  • Marie Claire Cantone

Institutes & Expert groups

  • NMBU - Norwegian University of Life Sciences
  • POLIMI - Politecnico di Milano

Documents & links


Any activity that might result in exposure of a population to contaminants requires communication of the associated risks. This communication is complicated by several factors including public perceptions, distrust, uncertainties in risk assessment and news media. These factors are especially prominent in communication of risks from ionizing radiation. A number of guidelines about the communication of risks related to radiation exposures have been made by national and international authorities and other stakeholders. The present paper investigates whether those guidelines were followed and evaluates how the radiation risk related information was presented in European newspapers and Russia in the aftermath of the Fukushima accident. It examines the use of measurement units and risk comparisons, the quality of the statements on radiation risk related issues and the use of visual materials in 1340 newspaper articles from Belgium, Italy, Norway, Russia, Slovenia and Spain. Our results indicated several misinterpretations and misrepresentations of radiological risks in the newspaper articles. We also show an inconsistency in the information that was reported with advice provided to risk communicators (e.g. authorities and experts) in the guidelines. The results suggest that risk communicators should improve their communication practices regarding radiological risks, in order to improve emergency management response.


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationJournal of Radiological Protection
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016
EventRICOMET 2015 - Risk perception, communication and ethics of exposures to ionising radiation - Brdo Castle, Kranj, Slovenia
Duration: 15 Jun 201517 Jun 2015

Publication series

NameJournal of Radiological protection
PublisherIOP - IOP Publishing
ISSN (Print)0952-4746


ConferenceRICOMET 2015 - Risk perception, communication and ethics of exposures to ionising radiation
Internet address


  • radiation risks, risk communication, media analysis, Fukushima

ID: 6774304