Framing risk: communication messages in the Australian and Swedish print media surrounding the 2009 H1N1 pandemic.
MetadataShow full item record
Background: Australia and Sweden have similar immunisation rates. However, during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic the uptake of immunisation was 60% in Sweden and 18% in Australia. During pandemics, perceptions of risk are largely formed by media communication which may influence the public's response. Aim: The study aimed to compare the differences in how the media framed the 2009 H1N1 pandemic message and the associated public perceptions of risk as expressed through the uptake of vaccinations in Australia and Sweden. Methods: A qualitative content analysis was conducted on 81 articles from the Australian and Swedish print media: 45 and 36, respectively. Results: The risk of H1N1 was communicated similarly in Australia and Sweden. However, major differences were found in how the Australian and Swedish media framed the pandemic in terms of responsibility, self-efficacy, and uncertainty. In Australia, responsibility was predominantly reported negatively, blaming various organisations for a lack of information, compared to Sweden where responsibility was placed on the community to help protect public health. Furthermore, there was limited self-efficacy measures reported in the Australian media compared to Sweden and Sweden's media was more transparent about the uncertainties of the pandemic. Conclusions: This study affirms the association between the framing of health messages in the media and the public's perception of risk and related behaviour. Governments need to actively incorporate the media into pandemic communication planning.
Scandinavian Journal of Public Health
Medical and Health Sciences not elsewhere classified