Reviews The Press

Fast and furious

BMJ 2004; 328 doi: (Published 15 January 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:174
  1. Naomi Marks, freelance journalist
  1. Brighton

    Is media indignation over speed cameras undermining a valuable public health message?

    It is not so unusual for a public health message to fail to make the impact that the medical profession feels that it deserves. To have a public health or safety message actively undermined by the media might, though, be felt to add insult to injury.

    However, that has been the recent double whammy of a fate for the Speed Kills campaign. Newspaper coverage of the use of speed cameras in particular is so far off message as far as health and safety professionals are concerned that barely do the cameras' potential to save lives even get a mention.

    Certain sections of the press have skewed the speed debate so much that it now seems to centre solely around the perceived infringement of individual rights, the “criminalisation” of the majority of drivers, and, in the most inflammatory aspect of the debate, the alleged siting of speed cameras purely for revenue-raising purposes.

    The Sunday Mirror recently predicted that “Britain's roads will be spied on by an astonishing 20 …

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