How Indonesian media portray electronic cigarettes: A content analysis of online news reports from 2012-2017
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State University of Malang, Malang, Indonesia
University of Indonesia, Depok, Indonesia
Curtin University, Bentley, Australia
Publication date: 2019-10-12
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Suci Puspita Ratih   

State University of Malang, Malang, Indonesia
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2019;17(Suppl 1):A57
Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), of which the health effects are deemed as less harmful than traditional cigarettes, have been sold in Indonesian market since 2010. We sought to examine the portrayals of e-cigarettes in online news media as they have been the new main source of information among Indonesians. A content analysis was conducted on all news report published by four most popular online news media in Indonesia from 2012 to late 2017. The news reports were obtained by both search methods; within the media websites, and through the Google advance search. The reports were reliably coded for topics of the story, news source, and coverage of benefits and harms of these products. The result shows that of the 418 articles found mentioning e-cigarettes, only 320 articles (76.6%) focused specifically on e-cigarette issues and were included in the analysis. The dominant topics of those articles were regulation or policy updates, and health effects of e-cigarettes (26.6% and 21.6% respectively); while the dominant news sources were scientist/researcher (34.7%) and government officials/policy makers (30.3%). Framing of e-cigarettes are equally or more harmful than traditional cigarettes appeared in 126 articles (39.4%); while framing of e-cigarettes are not harmful or less harmful than traditional cigarettes were used in 63 articles (19.7%). Over time, e-cigarettes were portrayed more negatively (70.9% of total articles) with a sudden three-fold increase in the number of articles published from 2016 to 2017. The outnumbering negative frames of e-cigarette indicated that the online news media tried to influence the public to oppose these products. However, the tendency of dominantly portraying the negative effects of e-cigarettes are inconsistent with the current e-cigarette smoking behaviour in Indonesia. Future research investigating the political economy of media may obtain deeper understanding on how online news media produce their stories.
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