WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--More than 1000 Americans have signed a petition calling on journalists to start covering the coffee-like botanical kratom in a fair and balanced fashion. The petition was sent over the weekend by the Kratom Information & Resource Center (KIRC) to nine leading U.S. news media trade groups.
A KIRC media analysis found that an astonishing 92 percent of nearly 2500 stories about kratom published between February 1-May 17, 2019 were unfair and unbalanced. The attack on kratom has taken place even though the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) backed off a 2016 campaign to classify kratom as a narcotic.
KIRC spokesperson Max Karlin said: “Stop treating kratom like some kind of pinata that you can whack away at as though the rules of journalism don’t apply. Our message to the media is very simple: Get your facts straight about kratom and listen to all voices, not just those with the biggest megaphones. There is a great deal of scientific disagreement about kratom when it comes to such issues as pain management and dependency. All experts should be heard, not just a cherry-picked few who have been lined up by proponents of prohibition.”
Karlin continued: “This is a legal product that is being used by informed adults in the privacy of their homes and dedicated commercial establishments. If kratom were as much of a problem as it has been made out by some organizations engaging in reckless ‘Leafer Madness’ rhetoric, America’s hospitals and ERs would be choked with the 13 million kratom consumers out there. Instead, experts can’t agree whether than has been even one kratom-related death in the U.S.”
The nine media trade groups receiving the KIRC petition are: The American Society of News Editors, National Association of Science Writers, Association of Health Care Journalists, News Media Alliance, Investigative Reporters and Editors, National Newspaper Association, The Association of Magazine Media, Society of Professional Journalists and The National Association of Broadcasters.
The kratom media fairness petition reads in part: “As the heads of the leading U.S. organizations representing journalists covering news, science and health issues, you are in a position to encourage your members to start reporting on the coffee-like herb kratom in a fair and balanced way. Please urge them to tell both sides of the story, seek out the reputable scientists who dispute claims made against kratom, and stop depicting kratom consumers as unsavory characters.
“Kratom consumers are drawn from all walks of life including doctors, teachers, law enforcement officers, veterans and grandparents. In nearly all the United States, consumption of kratom is legal, even though media coverage often incorrectly depicts it as illicit or some kind of street ‘drug’.
“To date, most ‘reporting’ about the kratom consumed today by millions of American adults without ill effect has been sensationalistic and one-sided, the modern-day equivalent of the irresponsible and inaccurate ‘Reefer Madness’ media depictions that once were used to justify keeping in place restrictions on marijuana and to stigmatize those choosing to consume it.”
The Kratom Information & Resource Center analysis of 2,500 kratom stories over the roughly 15-week period looked at how kratom was covered and where: “Kratom faces a tsunami of unfair and unbalanced media coverage today: 92 percent of kratom coverage is negative, with little or no balancing information. Only about 6 percent of kratom coverage was found to be neutral/balanced. Negative coverage of kratom is driven by local media, which tend to be more unfair/unbalanced in their approach than national reporters. 90 percent of all kratom news coverage is local.”
The petition can be found here: https://kratominfocenter.org/petition/
ABOUT THE KRATOM INFORMATION & RESOURCE CENTER
The Kratom Information & Resource Center is an independent, media watchdog organization devoted to fighting for the truth about kratom. KIRC undertakes research, education and direct one-on-one outreach to promote fair and balanced news coverage of kratom. Support for KIRC efforts are welcome from the kratom industry and other sources, however KIRC maintains 100-percent editorial control over its activities and materials. www.KratomInfoCenter.org @KratomFact on Twitter and Facebook