Background and Purpose: The cur rent exploratory study assessed the effects and viewpoints of the public on media reports during the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak in Taiwan. Methods: Subjects were selected by stratified sampling for residents aged 18 or above in Taiwan, and interviewed by using a computerassisted telephone interview system between June 1 and June 4, 2003. A total of 1,275 adults were interviewed which provided a maximum deviation of sampling error of ±2.74% at the 95% confidence level. Results: Among the respondents, 21.4% thought that the positive effects were greater than the negative ones and 35.7% vice versa; 30.4% thought they were equal; and 12.5% had no opinion. Positive effects of the media reports included disseminating knowledge (49%) and obtaining epidemic information (25%), while the negative effects included excessive news caused public panic (45%), exaggerated or twisted reporting (8%), reporting unverified news (7%), and overly politicized reporting (7%). Reports regarding the closing of Hoping Hospital and the deaths of infected medical staff were the two most frightening news items. Results from the multiple logistic regression analyses revealed that the elderly, lower education, and non-Taipei area respondents tended to give higher remarks about media reporting. The time spent in watching television was not related to negative evaluation of the media. Conclusion: Crisis risk communication should be an essential part of emergency response to an emerging infectious disease. Ethics and rules of media during crisis should be established. Emphasis on the manageable and understandable side should be encouraged. Information should be tailored according to different education levels of the public.
|Translated title of the contribution||Public Perception of Media Reporting during the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Outbreak in Taiwan|
|Number of pages||12|
|Publication status||Published - Aug 1 2007|
- crisis risk communication
- Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome
- emerging infectious diseases