Last edit: 17:29, 27 November 2007
Communication is an important part of disaster prevention and management. Many channels are used before and during a disaster - e.g. visible or audible signals, leaflets, announcements by speaker cars and public events. An important channel are the mass media: Newspapers, television, radio and - increasingly important - the internet. Mass media have certain characteristics that make them advantageous for disaster communication: They provide easy access to large publics and some of them constitute a robust communication system which remains working even in cases of a partial breakdown of the infrastructure (battery-powered radio). On the other hand sources dealing with the media know that media can be difficult channels. There is no direct control over the content and form of information transmitted. Sources who want communicate with the public have to deal with journalists who do not form a passive "information channel" but act as gate keepers, interpreters and commentators. Media hence can support or obstruct the disaster management of government agencies and relief organizations.