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Media representation of the antimicrobial resistance (AMR) crisis: an Australian perspective

Background: Antimicrobial resistance and the rise of ‘super bugs’ has become a major threat to public health worldwide, with authorities warning of an ‘apocalyptic future’ unless addressed as a matter of urgency. Mass circulation media has traditionally taken an active role in informing the public of important public health issues and the measures needed to address these. The key objective of the larger project informing this article was to describe Australian media representations of the AMR crisis and its role in informing the public about the AMR crisis. Methods: Undertaken as an unobtrusive qualitative research enquiry, existing data from Australian media, the websites of select partisan groups and government health departments as well as discipline literature were sourced and analysed using content analysis strategies. Results: Overall, media coverage was well informed, accurate, balanced, responsive to the issues at stake, and highlighted the seriousness of the issue without being alarmist. Intriguingly, reports relied heavily on the use of content and conceptual metaphors to frame their narratives. Conclusion: The media reports analysed in the context of this study were substantive and well informed. Just what impact they have had on the public in terms of improving its knowledge of the AMR issue or motivating behaviour change to mitigate the AMR crisis was unable to be ascertained. The strategic use of the media to galvanise an effective public response to the AMR crises thus requires further investigation.



Infection, disease and health






23 - 31




Amsterdam, The Netherlands





Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2018, Australasian College for Infection Prevention and Control