Framing of Influenza A (H1N1) pandemic in a Singaporean newspaper

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Abstract

This study seeks to understand how public health messages provided by the government in Singapore during an Influenza A (H1N1) pandemic were framed by the news media for the public. News articles were analyzed to explore how the global pandemic was framed as a local event, providing a unique exploration of the dynamic involving public health communication, news media and the state. Thematic analysis (n = 309) included the government-issued press releases disseminating public health information about H1N1 that were directly linked to news stories (n = 56) and news stories about H1N1 generated by the newspaper (n = 253). Four themes were found: (i) imported disease, (ii) war/battle metaphors, (iii) social responsibility and (iv) lockdown policies. Frame analysis revealed that the news coverage during the H1N1 pandemic reflected how the newspaper framed and mediated the information flow, amplified a positive tone for the government response, emphasized individual responsibility and utilized gain frames to construct local messages about the global H1N1 pandemic that reified Singapore as a nation-state.

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