Framing risk: how the People's Daily and the Straits Times covered the 2003 SARS epidemic in China and Singapore

Date
2006-01-01
Authors
Li, Qun
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Abstract

Singapore and China are two countries hit hard by the severe acute respiratory syndrome epidemic (SARS) in 2003. This study investigates how the two nation's leading newspapers, the People's Daily (China) and the Straits Times (Singapore) covered the outbreak, and analyzed the risk communication strategies employed by the two governments in dealing with SARS. Using content analysis, this study found that the Singapore paper reported the epidemic early, was more transparent with its coverage, and relied more on the use of health, economic, human interest, risk and morality frames to discuss the epidemic. On the other hand, the People's Daily reported the threat late, hid the real national situation from its audiences, and employed more political and responsibility frames in its SARS reports. The two newspapers cited government officials and local health reports the most as sources of information in their discourse about SARS.

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Journalism and mass communication
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