And Ghana was scared: Media Representations of the Risk of an Ebola Outbreak in Ghana

Seidu Iddrisu

Abstract


Abstract

Introduction  

The 2014 Ebola virus outbreak in parts of West Africa marked the 25th occurrence of the disease since its discovery in 1976. While earlier outbreaks in Central and Eastern Africa had limited geographical extension and little media coverage, news media interest in the 2014 epidemic was remarkably high. In countries like Ghana, where the risk of imported infection was estimated to be among the highest, news coverage for the epidemic proliferated. This study aimed to describe and analyze the central themes which characterized media representations of the risk of Ebola outbreak in Ghana.

Method  

A quantitative content analysis (CA) was employed to study news media reportage of the risk of Ebola outbreak in Ghana. Two daily newspapers, the Daily Graphic and Today were sampled. An online search for Ebola news stories in the selected newspapers was conducted, and all hits with Ebola downloaded and screened. A total of 332 articles were retrieved and 156 articles met the inclusion criteria. Three independent coders carried out the coding using identical story analysis form.

Results

In the course of the 2014 Ebola epidemic in parts of West Africa, the Daily Graphic and Today newspapers in Ghana published 332 stories about the epidemic. Of this number, the study analyzed 156 news articles which met the inclusion criteria. The analysis found that, media coverage for the risk of Ebola outbreak in Ghana reflected nine salient themes: concerns about the Ghana’s preparedness, support for Ghana’s preparation, public education on Ebola virus, assurances on Ghana’s readiness, suspected cases of Ebola, effects of Ebola, critique of Ebola risk handling, Misinformation and other.

Conclusion

Analysis of news media coverage for the threat of Ebola outbreak in Ghana revealed nine important themes. These themes, contributed to an understanding of the broad impact of the recent Ebola outbreak on various sectors of the population.

 

Key words: media coverage, Ebola threat in Ghana, epidemic preparedness, West Africa Ebola outbreak

 


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5210/ojphi.v10i2.9229



Online Journal of Public Health Informatics * ISSN 1947-2579 * http://ojphi.org