Media Framing Influence Public Trust in Government Performance in Overcoming COVID-19

Coronavirus made headlines in several news stories in early 2020. As we know, the virus that initially spread in the city of Wuhan in China, is now very quickly infecting and becoming a problem to the rest of the world. COVID-19 became the main topic on the search engine. People search for topics about COVID-19 to get information about the pandemic. All mainstream media highlights the COVID-19 issue, making various information appear as headlines.

On the other hand, an increase in the number of online news created a frame that depicts government actions in handling the COVID-19 pandemic. Regarding the pandemic, its framing has two important points. First, framing is intended to form a public perspective that the government has taken steps to solve the problem as a state security measure. Second, framing indicates that the community is pressing the government to take policy quickly.

This was revealed from the results of research conducted by the Jusuf Kalla UMY School of Government (JKSG) Masters Program in Government Sciences of Universitas Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta who conducted research on media framing during the COVID-19 pandemic that Indonesia was currently facing. The research team that was led by the UMY Vice-Rector of International Affairs and Cooperation, Prof. Dr. Achmad Nurmandi, M.Sc and assisted by the research team Eko Priyo Purnomo, S.IP., M.Sc., M.Res., Ph.D., Christine B. Tenorio, MPA., And Abitassha Az Zahra, S. IP observed several online media that provided information related to the government’s efforts to deal with COVID-19.

Based on research compiled by the UMY JKSG team, it appears that the public is paying more attention to the topic of COVID-19 so much that the number of readers jumped to 45 million readers in early January 2020 on the news portals,, and In addition, the recorded readership value almost doubled in March, namely 95 million, which was accompanied by more intense reporting of the COVID-19 case in Indonesia.

Nurmandi highlighted that the changes in online news framing regarding the COVID-19 issue were seen between January and March. The increase in COVID-19 cases is the reason for the fundamental changes that frame online news. In January, an online headline indicated that the government was not focused on the pandemic. Then, changes to the basic framework emerged in February and March. “In February and March, online news framing has made the spotlight focus on policy issues taken by the government in handling COVID-19,” Nurmandi explained when contacted Tuesday (21/4).

In the middle of a pandemic situation, news framing is indeed needed to maintain a positive perspective of the government. This is important to help the government resolve the pandemic because collaboration between the community and the government is needed. There have been efforts on behalf of the government in combating COVID-19, so guaranteed public trust should be the main objective of online news framing in the current pandemic situation. But the lack of government response and the current news framing that reported the government’s slow handling of the virus made the JKSG UMY team offer advice for the government during the pandemic.

“We suggest that the government change its approach to communication and change their attitude so that communication becomes clearer and more transparent. Therefore, in this national health issue, it is highly recommended that the government be transparent, responsive, accountable, and carry out more two-way communication with the public. If this is done, the likelihood that people will follow government instructions will be higher. Government information will be understood by the people. In other words, a pandemic can be easily reduced and minimized if there is a collaboration between stakeholders and can be made faster if the communication between them is clear and transparent. ” said Nurmandi. (Hbb)

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