Thursday, February 22, 2018 01:41:10 PM

Role of electronic media during natural disasters

By Deepanjalie Abeywardana - Wed Sep 27, 8:49 am

Featured image courtesy Sri Lanka Red Cross

The media have a significant role to play in times of natural disasters in terms of responsible and ethical coverage. However, electronic media coverage of the floods and landslides in some parts of Sri Lanka in late May 2017 came under heavy criticism on social media. Criticism was mainly directed at a group of privately-owned media channels for “misusing” the catastrophe as a way of “marketing” their brand image. Some channels were also criticised for sensationalist and insensitive coverage of the tragedy. These criticisms left many wondering what the role of media should be during natural disasters.  This article discusses the role of the media in the context of natural disasters and analyses the way some privately-owned Sinhala media channels reported recent natural disasters.

Media as a conduit

During a disaster, the media play a crucial role as an information broker and a conduit of information in the affected region during the response and recovery phase….

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