Academic journal article Researchers World

Coverage of Health Information in Electronic Media - a Study

Academic journal article Researchers World

Coverage of Health Information in Electronic Media - a Study

Article excerpt


The one of the basic principle of the media has to spread the information to create awareness in the people for the welfare of the state. It is well known that the mass media are an important social institution in any modern society. There is a greater demand and need for accurate, relevant, rapid and impartial public health information by people, and a growing reliance on mass media as the main source of information. The study was conducted on the health related messages that appear in the electronic media i.e., the radio and television. These two communicative tools are used for the analysis were randomly chosen. This aspect of the study gave the researchers an insight into involvement of the media within the health communications. Detailed content analysis of communication media concluded that all types of media provide information regarding health matters but political, social, crime and sports news were primarily covered in the electronic media.

Keywords: Mass Media, Advertisements, Health Issues, Healthcare Products.


The mass media is one of the best communication tools to spread the information and create awareness in the people so that there is acceptance of any idea to create interest. Mass media displays information about health and make people aware so as to prevent the spread of various diseases. There are various types of mass media magazines, television, internet, newspapers, traditional media and folk media etc., mainly the electronic media very much interact with the people even illiterates can easily understand the information aware about the social, political and well developmental issues. The media have the power to direct our attention towards certain issues and highlighting various issues to resolve the problem. This is the agenda setting theory. In the words of Cohen (1963), the media "may not be successful in telling their readers what to think, but are stunningly successful in telling their readers what to think about". The media reflect the realities, values, and norms of a society. Thus, if we want to study a society we could turn to its media its films, novels, television series, and popular stories. They will reflect to us what people feel and think, how they behave, and so on. The media act as a mirror of society, or a 'window on the world', which can be used as a resource to understand the society, O'Shaughnessy (1999). Freimuth et al. (1984) have shown that many people rely on the news media for their health-related information. Policy makers also obtain considerable amount of information from the media. As Stein (2001) argues that the media has an essential function in social learning to provide the information that will empower ordinary people and transmit the idea that structure people's thinking. Apart from the educative role, the media also play an advocacy role instrumental in making policy makers and key opinion leaders take the epidemic seriously, Getachew (2006). As Bryant and Thompson (2002) have suggested that news coverage of health matters takes on considerable significance that has the potential to shape the impression of average citizens and powerful policy makers alike. In the words of Brown and Walsh-Childers (1994), news coverage of health "tends to ascribe the power to control individuals' health to medical experts using high-technology equipment". According to Mehta and Sadhi (2004), communication involves dialogue. Participants of the dialogue, who play their role as news sources, not only exchange knowledge but also critically look into their beliefs, attitude and behavior patterns. Studies have also shown that the news media tend to increase their coverage of health concerns as they affect the society's mainstream and/or the greatest number of people in their audience.


The main purpose of the content analysis is to understand systematically health related messages in different mass communication tools. …

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