How has the media framed the introduction of the supervised injecting room in Victoria? A comparison of editorials of The Age and Herald Sun 2017–2022

Philip Mendes, Robert Taylor, Steven Roche

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Abstract

Influenced by a harm reduction philosophy, the then Victorian Labor Government announced the establishment of the state's first medically supervised injecting room (MSIR) in North Richmond in late 2017. But, public and political opinion remains sharply divided as to the merits of the MSIR. One influence on policy development appears to be media commentary on the MSIR and the wider illicit drugs policy debate. This paper compares the official editorials of the two daily Melbourne newspapers, the Herald Sun and The Age regarding the MSIR, from November 2017 until November 2022. Based on 33 articles (Herald Sun, N = 28; The Age, N = 5), our findings identify philosophical differences between the two newspapers as reflected in their sources of information, language and highlighted issues. The Age was mostly supportive of both the introduction of the North Richmond MSIR and proposals for a second site. The Herald Sun's position was more ambiguous, ranging from qualified support for the North Richmond MSIR to strong opposition to further sites.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalThe Australian Journal of Social Issues
Early online date9 Dec 2023
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Dec 2023

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