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Cent Eur J Public Health. 2019 Dec;27(Supplement):S66-S73. doi: 10.21101/cejph.a5826.

Media portrayal of alcohol does not match its real harm effects in the Czech Republic.

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Department of Addictology, First Faculty of Medicine, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic.



The Czech Republic ranks among countries with the highest alcohol consumption per capita. Several older studies discuss Czech media portrayal of health effects of alcohol, but we found no recent analysis of media portrayal of harms caused by alcohol consumption. Our analysis aims to fill this gap in.


The dataset of texts (n = 903) consisting of articles from press, radio, television and the internet published within a 30-day interval in 2017 (Newton Media computerized database) was coded and analyzed using mixed quantitative and qualitative approach to content analysis. The frequency of references to acute and long-term alcohol harms of various types were counted, and the results were compared to the classification of (alcohol) harms by the Independent Scientific Committee of Drugs (ISCD).


The short-term intoxication effects in the areas of crime and road safety, in particular reports on traffic accidents, are over-represented, while topics describing the impact of alcohol use on health, family and society, as well as economic costs or environmental issues seem to be marginal. That corresponds to the fact that police and courts were the information source in more than half of the articles, while information sourced from physicians, sociologists and drug field professionals was rather scarce.


Media portrayal of the harms caused by alcohol use does not match up to real harm effects on the society. In terms of public health, it is imperative to strengthen media presentation of the impact of alcohol use on health and social issues.


Czech Republic; acute intoxication effects; alcohol use impact; long-term use effects; media analysis; media coverage

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