We are seeking volunteers to join our newly-established Media Accuracy Team (MAT)! The media should be held responsible for portraying medical conditions accurately. When they fail to do so around benzodiazepines, our MAT seeks to correct any inaccuracies with the goal of media accuracy and reduction of harm for all patients.
One of our key focuses at BIC is to help outsiders distinguish between addiction, physical dependence and harm, thus providing clarity about prescribed patient injury. This means we seek immediate correction when stories errantly conflate compliant patients experiencing physical dependence or other known adverse effects of benzodiazepine prescription with addiction or drug abuse. Additionally, we seek to have stories that minimize the harms and/or misrepresent the benefits and safety of long-term benzodiazepine prescriptions reexamined for accuracy.
Media Accuracy Team members will be responsible for responding to any flawed coverage. Detailed instructions on which stories and how to respond will be provided via email. Part of MAT’s work requires volunteers to respond quickly when an inaccurate depiction of benzodiazepine harm is published. We estimate anywhere between 1-5 instances per month may need addressing. Responses from MAT volunteers to the culpable media outlet will be sent via email, Twitter, or Facebook (we will advise which outlet to use).
We require that all communications with media outlets be professional and tactful. The main focus of any communication should be to briefly educate, seek a printed correction, and develop an interest in a new, more accurate story. Most of these media inaccuracies are similar, so we anticipate that one well-written response could easily be saved, slightly modified, and used many times.
With the right volunteers, this team could have a huge impact and change the way benzodiazepine harm is portrayed publicly, potentially helping to save more lives and prevent further harm. If you have wanted to volunteer for BIC, this is a great place to start. While it might seem intimidating at first to read all of our requirements, we believe the time burden for this volunteer position will be minimal while still having a very high impact. Everyone who fits our criteria, regardless of location, is welcome to join by completing the below application.