When religion prevails: Examining religious and mainstream news coverage of measles-rubella vaccination in Indonesia

Jeffry Oktavianus, Helga Liliani Cakra Dewi

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Objectives: Indonesia's measles-rubella (MR) vaccination campaign faced public refusal due to religious objections. The government then lobbied the religious organization to issue a decree to permit the consumption of the MR vaccine, which would enhance public approval. Media outlets, including religious and mainstream media, played a crucial role in promoting the decree and the vaccine. Learning from this MR vaccination campaign in 2018, this study examined how the mainstream and alternative or religious media framed the MR vaccination and how it changed before and after the decree. Study design/methods: A content analysis was performed on 234 news articles from Indonesian religious and mainstream media. Results: Mainstream media positively framed MR vaccines, which were further amplified after the decree was issued. In contrast, religious media consistently depicted the opposing sides of the vaccine and its campaign. Both media types also predominantly cited the government and religious leaders in their articles. Conclusion: While the mainstream media agenda aligns with the national agenda to promote the MR vaccine, religious media still emphasizes the risk of the vaccine. The prevalence of religious leaders in alternative media also suggests that the public, including religious leaders, may not necessarily accept the decree. Hence, more effort should be devoted to encouraging the media and religious leaders to accept the vaccine, as they may act as opinion leaders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-43
Number of pages5
JournalPublic Health
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023


  • Alternative media
  • Frame
  • Mainstream media
  • Measles-rubella vaccination
  • Religious media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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