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Comparison of COVID-19 and MERS Risk Communication in Korea: A Case Study of TV Public Service Advertisements

Authors Park D, Ha J

Received 24 June 2020

Accepted for publication 15 October 2020

Published 4 November 2020 Volume 2020:13 Pages 2469—2482


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 5

Editor who approved publication: Professor Marco Carotenuto

Dahye Park,1 Jeongmin Ha2

1Department of Nursing, Semyung University, Jecheon, Republic of Korea; 2Department of Nursing, Chung-Ang University, Seoul, Republic of Korea

Correspondence: Jeongmin Ha
Department of Nursing, Chung-Ang University, 84 Heukseok-ro, Dongjak-gu, Seoul, Republic of Korea
Tel +82-10-9241-2911
Fax +82-2-824-7961
Email [email protected]

Purpose: In recent years, the world has been under threat of novel infectious diseases such as Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Governmental risk communication plays a key role in overcoming the public health crises caused by the emergence of these infectious diseases. The purpose of this study was to identify the focus of Korean public service advertisements (PSAs) in response to the MERS and COVID-19 outbreaks, along with the differences between them.
Methods: A total of five MERS and 17 COVID-19 TV PSAs were analyzed using Lasswell’s Sender, Message, Channel, Receiver, and Effect model and the responses of the Korean government were compared between the MERS and COVID-19 outbreaks.
Results: During the MERS outbreak, the Korean government failed to gain the public’s trust through its PSAs. Despite its best efforts, it provided opaque and selective information on the crisis. Conversely, in the case of COVID-19, the Korean government has successfully worked to strengthen community awareness by supporting and encouraging the public.
Conclusion: Despite the Korean government’s improved communication in the COVID-19 crisis, there has been an insufficient response to the needs of vulnerable groups that could be placed in at-risk situations as a result of domestic violence or mental health problems during outbreaks of novel infectious diseases that require aggressive management.

Keywords: community awareness, public health crisis, coronavirus disease, SARS-CoV-2

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