Communication challenges in transboundary crisis situations

University essay from IT-universitetet i Göteborg/Tillämpad informationsteknologi

Abstract: In recent years, the world has seen a series of catastrophes such as the Chernobyl disaster in 1986, the September 11 attacks in 2001, the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, the earthquake disaster in Haiti in 2010, and most recently the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. Common to all of these eventsis that they present numerous challenges for crisis management actors in terms of coordinating and communicating across geographical, cultural and political borders. In particular, the increasingly transboundary nature of disasters and crises put additional pressure on the communication. The purpose of the thesis is to explore the communication challenges in transboundary crisis communication. Currently there is limited knowledge on this topic and this research aims to provide with some initial insights into communication issues by looking into two different crises events. These include the 1986 Chernobyl disaster and 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami event. A desk-based qualitative study of previous literature related to two the two crises events is carriedout. The analysis revealed two interrelated themes of challenges, namely Sharing of Information and Shared Understanding, which in turn are sub-divided into a number of aspects. The main contribution of the study is to provide some initial insights into the role of communication in crisis management, and the problems associated with obtaining pure information, and meaning, across cultural, geographical and political borders. Another important contribution is to encourage further studies into transboundary crisis communication especially with a focus on information sharing and the ability to establish shared understanding.

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