Role of media during disasters- a critical note

Role of media during disasters- a critical note

Question:-Media has emerged as a very useful medium at the time of a disaster. But Indian media has been criticized for 'insensitive' coverage on Nepal quake. How is social media used when disaster strikes? Write a critical note on the role of media in disaster management.

- Role of media: Media has the potential to play a major role during a disaster and this is further amplified with social media. Media can be a useful medium in sending out information regarding dissemination about helpline, medical camps, emergency phone numbers and other needs of the people. A panic situation can be avoided by suppressing rumors. It can compel the government to upgrade disaster management on priority basis.

- Media contributes in preparedness and disaster mitigation and acts as an effective channel for spreading disaster awareness. Prior to a disaster the media can warn the public however it is during the disaster that it plays a vital role.

- Contribution of social work: The role social networking sites is an entirely new outlook and plays a major role in society during a crisis. These provide instant information of conditions on the ground. Broadly social media is made use of in four ways-

1. Sharing updates and spreading awareness of the condition.
2. For relief operations ie volunteering, creating communities etc.
3. For collecting funds
4. Monitoring and providing insights to the whole situation.

- In the wake of the happenings, social media has emerged as a new way through which profound aid can be sought at the time of disasters. With its effective usage there is a huge potential to create an impact on the society.

- Media in bad light: The media though has also come in bad light owing to the exaggeration of situation and giving unwanted importance to some issues. In their desire for TRPs and sensationalism, the media has overlooked basic ethics of journalism. During the Nepal earthquake, media was severely criticized as well as during the Uttarakhand floods, the visits of politicians was focused on rather than disaster management.

- It is important that ethics in journalism during disaster reporting are strictly followed. The survivors and the grief stricken people deserve complete privacy and if at all, their consent must be sought and questions must be brief. The media was seen taking up he space on the arrival of the choppers with relief material. During a disaster relief must take precedence which the media failed to comply with.

- The need of the hour thus is to involve a humanistic angle to journalism where ethical journalism must give humanity precedence over professional urgency.
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