Media, health, and power: a game of representations on dengue fever

  • Edlaine Faria de Moura Villela Universidade de São Paulo; Faculdade de Saúde Pública
  • Delsio Natal Universidade de São Paulo; Faculdade de Saúde Pública


This research aimed to construct discourses to represent how the first epidemic of dengue fever in Ribeirão Preto, São Paulo, Brazil, was approached by the printed media and think through outcomes concerning media and power. 126 Reports were collected from November 1990 to March 1991 from the newspapers Folha de S. Paulo, O Estado de S. Paulo, and A Cidade, and from the magazines Veja and Revide. The Collective Subject Discourse was the method chosen based on the Theory of Social Representations. The media focused on the polemical discussion about who might be the villain of the epidemic rather than clarifying the epidemic itself. The gap of information provided was found. The game of representations and the relation media/power became clear. There is a problem not only with the possibility of adequate and sufficient access to the information produced, but also the difficulty of deciding what must be discussed in daily newspapers to enrich, in fact, the population’s informational framework. For this, professionals who deal with information and communication in health, in the printed media, should be able to bring technical language closer to popular language. In order to provide circulation and appropriation of information on Public Health, there is a need to open the discussion to community and enable people to speak out. It is worth discussing which type of information the citizen accesses during the epidemic processes: Political or epidemiological information. Political issues cannot overlap priority health issues in the in the daily life media of Brazilian families.


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How to Cite
Villela, E., & Natal, D. (2014). Media, health, and power: a game of representations on dengue fever . Saúde E Sociedade, 23(3), 1007-1017.