Resources - Media Analysis

Guinea pigs and the frantic search for the AIDS vaccine gel

11 April 2008

The coverage of Microbicide trails in 2007 the following findings showed the following patterns:

  • The stories were afforded significant prominence in some of the newspapers monitored.
  • Just over a quarter of the content items dramatised the issues.  This included using phrases such as “frantic search”, describing the volunteers as “desperate” or “pleading”, the use of exclamation marks, different font sizes and capitals to emphasise controversy, and the use of unnamed sources who make allegations that are not substantiated in the items monitored;
  • Most content items analysed show a clear bias either in favour of the HIV and AIDS researchers, or against the researchers.
  • In contrast, the volunteers are treated ambivalently and even in a demeaning way in several content items.
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