Similar challenges but different responses: Media coverage of measles vaccination in the UK and China

Jie Ren, Hans Peter Peters, Joachim Allgaier, Yin-Yueh Lo

For several decades scholars have studied media reporting on scientific issues that involve controversy. Most studies so far have focused on the western world. This article tries to broaden the perspective by considering China and comparing it to a western country. A content analysis of newspaper coverage of vaccination issues in the UK and China shows, first, that the government-supported ‘mainstream position’ dominates the Chinese coverage while the British media frequently refer to criticism and controversy. Second, scientific expertise in the British coverage is represented by experts from the health and science sector but by experts from health agencies in the Chinese coverage. These results are discussed with respect to implications for risk communication and scientists’ involvement in public communication.

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