Time immemorial the humanity is faced with natural disasters. For many centuries people believed that the disasters are destiny or ordained which cannot be erased. Hence they faced the disaster and waited for the next to come. Now the scientific inventions have made us understand that the unending disasters are the causes of irresponsible behavior of mankind.

Disaster is one of the greatest challenges being faced by the mankind and thus Disaster management has become a prominent area of science communication. It is gaining in importance in the public sphere with NGOs, scientists, journalists, and policy makers in particular taking a pro-active stand. Sea level rise, cyclones, and floods devastate coastal low-laying areas. Such events triggered and/or aggravated by climate change affect millions of people in the developing countries the most.

India has been identified as one among 27 countries which are most vulnerable to the impacts of global warming related accelerated sea level rise (UNEP, 1989). The high degree of vulnerability of Indian coasts can be mainly attributed to extensive low-lying coastal area, high population density, frequent occurrence of cyclones and storms, high rate of coastal environmental degradation on account of pollution and non-sustainable development. Most of the people who are below poverty line are living in the low lying areas and are directly dependent on natural resources of coastal ecosystems who are highly vulnerable to any global warming-induced climatic change.

The role of media, both print and electronic, in informing the people and the authorities during emergencies thus becomes critical, especially the ways in which the media can play a vital role in public awareness and preparedness through educating the public about disasters; warning of hazards; gathering and transmitting information about affected areas; alerting government officials, helping relief organizations and the public towards specific needs; and even in facilitating discussions about disaster preparedness and response.

There is a need to find out the effectiveness of the media in creating awareness, handling the disaster mitigations,its effects on the coastal areas and its short falls in meeting the social obligation; it is expected to perform to overcome the challenges it poses to the humankind. Whether the media has devoted its attention to coastal disasters? The study examines. Creating awareness during ordinary days is most important than the coverage during disasters to reduce the risk of a disaster, as disasters cannot be prevented. Keeping in view of the broad objective on the role of media in disaster management in public safety and emergency, whether the level of awareness created by the media is sufficient?

The methodology is based on content analysis of the media text to show the process of coverage of coastal disaster in terms of creating awareness, by analyzing the media content in the past one year in the popular English magazines like India Today, Outlook, The Week and Front line.

In this research it was found that articles were covered by the magazines as an event and not as a process that examines the causes in-depth. The contents on disaster awareness were very meager, less proactive contents were found, most of the media focuses attention on the death toll, not caring about the relief measures. The media has not proposed an alternative plan for the rescue operation. The media should act as a positive force. Positive news coverage can reduce terror and give some psychological relief to the affected community.

">
 [PCST]
PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Climate change induced coastal disasters and mass media

P Prabhakaran   All India Radio

G Sakthive   All India Radio

I. Aram   Anna University

Time immemorial the humanity is faced with natural disasters. For many centuries people believed that the disasters are destiny or ordained which cannot be erased. Hence they faced the disaster and waited for the next to come. Now the scientific inventions have made us understand that the unending disasters are the causes of irresponsible behavior of mankind.

Disaster is one of the greatest challenges being faced by the mankind and thus Disaster management has become a prominent area of science communication. It is gaining in importance in the public sphere with NGOs, scientists, journalists, and policy makers in particular taking a pro-active stand. Sea level rise, cyclones, and floods devastate coastal low-laying areas. Such events triggered and/or aggravated by climate change affect millions of people in the developing countries the most.

India has been identified as one among 27 countries which are most vulnerable to the impacts of global warming related accelerated sea level rise (UNEP, 1989). The high degree of vulnerability of Indian coasts can be mainly attributed to extensive low-lying coastal area, high population density, frequent occurrence of cyclones and storms, high rate of coastal environmental degradation on account of pollution and non-sustainable development. Most of the people who are below poverty line are living in the low lying areas and are directly dependent on natural resources of coastal ecosystems who are highly vulnerable to any global warming-induced climatic change.

The role of media, both print and electronic, in informing the people and the authorities during emergencies thus becomes critical, especially the ways in which the media can play a vital role in public awareness and preparedness through educating the public about disasters; warning of hazards; gathering and transmitting information about affected areas; alerting government officials, helping relief organizations and the public towards specific needs; and even in facilitating discussions about disaster preparedness and response.

There is a need to find out the effectiveness of the media in creating awareness, handling the disaster mitigations,its effects on the coastal areas and its short falls in meeting the social obligation; it is expected to perform to overcome the challenges it poses to the humankind. Whether the media has devoted its attention to coastal disasters? The study examines. Creating awareness during ordinary days is most important than the coverage during disasters to reduce the risk of a disaster, as disasters cannot be prevented. Keeping in view of the broad objective on the role of media in disaster management in public safety and emergency, whether the level of awareness created by the media is sufficient?

The methodology is based on content analysis of the media text to show the process of coverage of coastal disaster in terms of creating awareness, by analyzing the media content in the past one year in the popular English magazines like India Today, Outlook, The Week and Front line.

In this research it was found that articles were covered by the magazines as an event and not as a process that examines the causes in-depth. The contents on disaster awareness were very meager, less proactive contents were found, most of the media focuses attention on the death toll, not caring about the relief measures. The media has not proposed an alternative plan for the rescue operation. The media should act as a positive force. Positive news coverage can reduce terror and give some psychological relief to the affected community.

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.

BACK TO TOP