Media Releases

Ian Haysom: You’re Right. It Isn’t the Media’s Fault.

Friday, January 25, 2013
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Ian Haysom: isn’t following up on it now the media’s responsibility? The Joint Canadian Tanning Association agrees with Canadian columnist Ian Haysom who wrote this week that all too often, people “blame the media” when reports come out that they don’t agree with. Two weeks ago, a report was released to the worldwide media, including outlets in Canada, suggesting that sun tanning is now as dangerous as cigarette smoking simply because UV light was added to a list of “carcinogens” by a European agency.

Never mind the fact the “list” also contains red wine, birth control pills, salted fish and other highly used substances that, when experienced in their intended dosages, do not elevate cancer risk. No report that we saw pointed out the most important part of the story: that the “list” doesn’t mean a substance is dangerous in every-day dosages, but only potentially in “overexposure” situations. But “sun tanning is as dangerous as tobacco” is what many news stories mis-reported, also ignoring the fact that UV has been on North American carcinogen lists for nearly a decade. Some blamed the media for this. We did not. We suspect those who released the story to you are to blame – they certainly didn’t stand in the way of any overstatement nor have they tried to correct the record. So whose responsibility is it to clean up the mess of misinformation that’s out there now? When people don’t get the whole story everyone loses. All we’re saying is give us the chance now to show the whole story, which takes more than a day-one sound bite to fully understand. Saying that sunlight is harmful and should be avoided is like saying that water causes drowning, and therefore we shouldn’t drink water. It’s a dangerous misrepresentation of reality. But it’s more or less what got represented last week. Google search it yourself if you think we’re exaggerating. Just this weekend a European dermatologist published a study blaming the “stay out of the sun” message for vitamin D deficiency. We know that 97 per cent of Canadians are at risk for vitamin D deficiency. So you can see there are consequences to a story telling people that UV light – the main source of “The Sunshine Vitamin” – is harmful instead of reflecting the whole story. So here’s our challenge to members of the Canadian media: Work with us to ensure the whole story is told. Let us show you the doctors and independent sources who support responsible UV exposure who weren’t represented in last week’s day-one press. Let us help you tell the whole story. Last week’s reports were wrong – it doesn’t matter who’s to blame. All we ask is that you give us a chance to help you fix it. For more information contact: Steve Gilroy Executive Director Joint Canadian Tanning Association 1.800.915.0367 ext. 101 M: 250.863.8765 E: