Why risk should be reported responsibly

Is it ever morally acceptable to ‘spin’ information about risk to try to influence people’s behaviour?

Imagine a new report has been published, linking eating meat to the development of cancer.

Is it right for a newspaper to report the relative risk without the absolute risk, to create a more striking story and therefore sell more papers? Would you feel differently if this were done by a government health campaign or a cancer charity trying to raise funds for research? What if it were used in adverts by a business that produces vegetarian food?

Further reading

About this resource

This resource was first published in ‘Number Crunching’ in June 2013.

Statistics and maths, Health, infection and disease
Number Crunching
Education levels:
16–19, Continuing professional development