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Health in the headlines: How two Indian newspapers treat antibiotic resistance
Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences.
Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences.
2012 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

In India, there is no regulation of antibiotics and allegedly the use has doubled since 2006. Indiscriminate use of antibiotics gives rise to development of resistant bacteria. The media has, according to the theories used in this study, a responsibility to educate and empower the people to make personal judgments about health risks.

This study focuses on the extent to which two of the largest English-language newspapers in India, the Hindu and Times of India, report on antibiotic resistance; and also, how the journalists and editors on these newspapers look upon their profession and responsibilities when it comes to reporting on health issues.

In addition to the quantitative content analysis, which comprises 162 articles about antibiotic resistance published between 2006 and 2012, six in-depth interviews were conducted.

The results show that the amount of coverage on antibiotic resistance increased 2010 when the Lancet published a report on new findings of multi-resistant bacteria in India. This indicates that an event was needed to qualify antibiotic resistance for the news pages.

Our study also shows that preventive measures which can be taken to reduce the emerge of resistant bacteria are often included in the articles and that they are addressed to doctors as well as to the general public. On the other hand, information on the magnitude of the problem is rarely presented. Scientists are often quoted or referred to, and the journalists of the investigated newspapers state that they have a great confidence in them. Furthermore, the respondents express that they have a responsibility to report on health issues. They believe that their newspapers have a major influence on its readership, and that their reporting can make a difference in the health situation in India. Some of them mention, however, that their overall impact is limited since their newspapers only reach the literate middle-class.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. , 60 p.
Keyword [en]
Antibiotics, Antibiotic resistance, Health, India, Journalism, Newspapers, Media.
National Category
Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-19510OAI: diva2:641568
Subject / course
Social and Behavioural Science, Law
Available from: 2013-08-19 Created: 2013-08-18 Last updated: 2013-08-19Bibliographically approved

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