Your Disaster is Not My Disaster: Mass Media, Social Media and Disasters

Information about Your Disaster is Not My Disaster: Mass Media, Social Media and Disasters

Published on February 12, 2019

Author: NalakaG

Source: slideshare.net

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1. Exploring Nexus of Media & Disasters - by @NalakaG 1 Feb 2019 Your Disaster is Not My Disaster: Mass Media, Social Media and Disasters By Nalaka Gunawardene @NalakaG Remarks at Special Media Session: 4th World Congress on Disaster Management IIT Bombay, Mumbai, India: 1 Feb 2019

2. Exploring Nexus of Media & Disasters - by @NalakaG 1 Feb 2019 Indian Ocean Monsoons: They bring much needed rain and occasionally cause disasters in South Asia… Image taken in 2012 by Elektro-L No.1 Russian weather satellite

3. Exploring Nexus of Media & Disasters - by @NalakaG 1 Feb 2019 United by seasonal winds: We’re all Children of the Monsoon! “Lacking glaciers and snowy mountains, Sri Lanka’s climate is primarily defined by the monsoons and the surrounding ocean. They have chiselled our land in an annual dance of elements older than any civilisation. There can be no bigger ‘foreign interference’ than this…” – Nalaka Gunawardene, writing in Ceylon Today, 27 May 2012 https://collidecolumn.wordpre ss.com/2012/05/26/when- worlds-collide-17-we-are-all- children-of-the-monsoon/

4. Exploring Nexus of Media & Disasters - by @NalakaG 1 Feb 2019 When Bay of Bengal gets depressed… we get lashed by cyclones MeteoSat-2 image taken in 30 Oct 2012 when tropical cyclone Neelam swept past parts of Sri Lanka’s North and East, and then headed to southern India. Hydro-meteorological disasters cause more damage than any other kind in Sri Lanka. They’re not new, but now more frequent and intense.

5. Exploring Nexus of Media & Disasters - by @NalakaG 1 Feb 2019 Rainfall in Sri Lanka: 2013-2018 Highs getting higher; lows getting lower Graph source: http://www.climate.lk/

6. Exploring Nexus of Media & Disasters - by @NalakaG 1 Feb 2019 • Sri Lanka has been alternating between floods & droughts • In 2017-18: had concurrent drought (Dry Zone) AND floods (Wet Zone)! • Climate change is wreaking havoc with rainfall patterns • Journalists struggle to make sense of this

7. Exploring Nexus of Media & Disasters - by @NalakaG 1 Feb 2019 Communicating about Disasters: Media part of wider info eco-system • Information & communication play a key part BEFORE, DURING and AFTER disasters (as explored in 2007 Asian regional book edited by Fred Noronha & myself ) • https://www.unisdr.org/files/1235_Commun icatingDisasters.pdf • Red Cross in 2005 recognised: Reliable & timely information vital element in post- disaster relief: mass media & social media each can play parts in this

8. Exploring Nexus of Media & Disasters - by @NalakaG 1 Feb 2019 Mass Media’s coverage of Disasters in Sri Lanka… • Disasters seen more as events, less as process • Field reporting – there’s plenty, and it’s getting better • But not enough data driven analysis or follow-up • Climate dimensions not captured well: it’s a tough story to get • TV disaster coverage sometimes looks more like reality TV…

9. Exploring Nexus of Media & Disasters - by @NalakaG 1 Feb 2019 Citizens leveraging technology for crisis communication • Citizens with smartphones accessing online info & sharing: Mass media is no longer the only (or main) provider of info • Disaster affected are no longer passive victims: increasingly vocal on #SocialMedia • Mis/dis-information can flow through both mass & social media: what can be done?

10. Exploring Nexus of Media & Disasters - by @NalakaG 1 Feb 2019 May 2017 Floods as case study

11. Exploring Nexus of Media & Disasters - by @NalakaG 1 Feb 2019 Broadcast media becoming disaster relief providers: Reporting & commenting sidelined? “Aren’t we the best providers of disaster relief” ask cameramen from competing TV stations. Cartoon by Dasa Hapuwalana, Lankadeepa newspaper

12. Exploring Nexus of Media & Disasters - by @NalakaG 1 Feb 2019 Social Media during Disasters: Citizens self-mobilising relief #FloodLK #FloodSL

13. Exploring Nexus of Media & Disasters - by @NalakaG 1 Feb 2019 Digital tools & platforms used by civil society & activists for disseminating warnings & incident mapping via crowdsourcing, etc. But state DRR agencies are still slow to use digital and web tools for DRR either during crisis or in between incidents.

14. Exploring Nexus of Media & Disasters - by @NalakaG 1 Feb 2019 Social Media is irreverent: No Sacred Cows! May 2017: Disaster Minister attending disaster conference in Cancun, Mexico while floods hit a third of Sri Lanka. His FB post evoked widespread outrage…and prompted this  PERSON: This man used to be Minister of Disaster Management in Sri Lanka, but has been missing throughout the current disaster. Where is he???

15. Exploring Nexus of Media & Disasters - by @NalakaG 1 Feb 2019 Tough questions after flood waters recede… Many are common after EACH disaster! • Did government’s disaster management systems fail to warn communities at risk? • Or were the hazard warnings issued but poorly communicated? • And once disaster occurred, could the relief response have been better handled? • Are we making enough use of technological tools? If not, why?

16. Exploring Nexus of Media & Disasters - by @NalakaG 1 Feb 2019 Out of sight, Out of mind? #NorthernFloods: Late Dec 2018 • News about #lka Northern Prov being hit by flash floods didn’t appear in Colombo-centric mainstream media for (at least) 48 hours • Flood affected people themselves tried to fill this news gap sharing on social media • Even social media activists in #lka South were slow to react to this particular disaster: was it because flood wasn’t in their own backyard? • I reflected on this in The Sunday Morning column, 6 January 2019 

17. Exploring Nexus of Media & Disasters - by @NalakaG 1 Feb 2019 Media’s decision making: Proximity = Prominence? Even on a compact island like Sri Lanka, what happens away from 2 media hubs (Colombo & Jaffna) does not always make news. Is there a way to break this cynical news hierarchy? Can we move beyond NIMBY (Not In My Backyard)?

18. Exploring Nexus of Media & Disasters - by @NalakaG 1 Feb 2019 BEYOND individual disasters, we need to address: Where is Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in development planning? How to step up local resilience building? Can good communications be integrated into both climate mitigation and adaptation?

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