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The media and the swine flu

In the spring of 2009 a new type of influenza, called H1N1 or the swine flu, was discovered in Mexico. The World Health Organisation, WHO, almost immediately warned that the virus could cause a serious pandemic, and at a press conference on 11 June 2009 the organisation’s Director-General Margaret Chan said that "The world is now at the start of the 2009 influenza pandemic." Swedish authorities quickly decided to start a mass vaccination campaign.

This project explores how Swedish media inform and form the public opinion in matters concerning the new influenza, from the first outbreak to the end of 2009. The project is guided by the notion that the media are central to the citizens’ ability to keep informed about threats and risks that may affect them, and probably also affect people’s decision of whether or not to get vaccinated.

The study is based on content analyses of the major Swedish news media’s (press, Internet newspapers, radio, TV) coverage of the swine flu. It also relies on interviews with journalists and news sources and a questionnaire that includes questions about attitudes to vaccination and trust in public authorities conducted with the help of the SOM Institute.

Page Manager: Mats Ekström|Last update: 7/25/2011

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