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Science and The Media

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Journalists reporting scientific stories, including those affecting mobile telecommunications issues, can have a difficult job. Often, they may be trying to meet a deadline and are presented with apparently conflicting claims about an issue; or their readers will demand certainty and simplicity, even though many scientific questions involve complexity, nuance, and the balance of probabilities. How can they, or their readers cope with this?

Sense About Science is an independent charitable trust promoting good science and evidence in public debate. It works with scientists to: respond to inaccuracies in public claims about science, medicine, and technology; promote the benefits of scientific research to the public; help those who need expert help contact scientists about issues of importance; and brief non-specialists on scientific developments and practices. Its publications are aimed not only at journalists, but also at policy-makers and the wider public.

For journalists, the Science Media Centre is an independent venture working to promote the voices, stories and views of the scientific community to the national news media when science is in the headlines. It works with journalists in the UK national news media who: need a news interview with a scientist; have a question about a major science story; or need a background briefing on a scientific topic

Members of the public with an interest in science might also want to visit the Winchester Science Centre a hands-on interactive science and technology centre. One of its exhibits explains the science behind the mobile phone. 

61% of UK adults access the internet from mobiles

Mobile phones cannot work without a network of base stations (masts). There are approximately 52,500 base station sites (excluding microcells) in the UK. Only a third of these are large, free standing masts. A YouGov survey for MOA (Sept 2014) showed that nearly 8 out of 10 people recognise the link between masts and good mobile coverage. Mobile telecommunications are vital for the UK’s economic competitiveness and in promoting social inclusion. There are now 89.9 million mobile subscriptions in the UK. In Q1 2015 61 per cent of UK adults used their mobile phones for internet access. Tablet ownership is 54% of UK households.

No Established Health Effects

Mobile phones operate by using radio waves, similar to those that have been widely used for decades, for example in radio, TV and radar signals. A large number of studies over the last two decades have found no clear evidence of adverse health effects from the use of mobile phones or from phone masts.