Media coverage of the Zika crisis in Brazil: The construction of a 'war' frame that masked social and gender inequalities.
Social Science & Medicine
© 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/BY/4.0/).
Between 2015 and 2016, Zika became an epidemic of global concern and the focus of intense media coverage. Using a hybrid model of frame and social representations theory, we examine how the Zika outbreak was reported in two major newspapers in Brazil: O Globo and Folha de São Paulo. The analysis of 186 articles published between December 2015 and May 2016 reveals a dominant 'war' frame supported by two sub-frames: one focused on eradicating the vector (mosquito) and another on controlling microcephaly, placing the burden of prevention on women. Scientific uncertainties about the virus and its relationship to microcephaly coupled with political uncertainties in Brazil increased the power of the war frame. This frame gave prominence and legitimacy to certain representations of disease management during the crisis, masking social and gender inequalities. We show how the cartography of the disease overlaps with that of poverty and regional inequality in Brazil to argue that addressing socio-economic aspects is essential, but normally neglected, in media communications during disease outbreaks like Zika.
This research has received financial support from the University of Nottingham’s Governance and Public Policy Research Priority Area (GaPP-RPA) and from the University of Manchester's Institutional Open Access Fund (ID 005771)
This is the final version of the article. Available from the publisher via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 200, pp. 137 - 144
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