Risk Communication : A Comparative Study of Eight EU Countries


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Publication Details


Författare: MSB

Publikationsår: 2020

Antal sidor: 57

ISBN: 978-91-7383-868-9;978-91-7927-024-7

URL: https://rib.msb.se/filer/pdf/29087.pdf


How do EU member states communicate risks to their citizens? In this study, we define risk communication as the information provided by different levels of government to citizens regarding possible future crises. The questions serving as departure points for this study are as follows: How is the administrative system for risk communication set up in the countries studied? How the different risk communication campaigns are (provided that they exist) embedded in the larger administrative context? How is risk communication strategy formulated in each country and what kind of threats are emphasized? In order to tackle these questions, we examine the risk communication strategy of eight countries: Sweden, Finland, Germany, England, France, Estonia, Greece and Cyprus. Our data consist of governmental web sites, publications, campaigns, as well as other modes of communication, such as videos posted on YouTube, with questions centering on institutional actors, methods of delivery, content, and effectiveness. We acknowledge that risk communication aims at supporting vulnerable populations and evening out imbalances, but at the same time we flesh out the power dimension of risk. In our analysis, we search for reproduction of norms and social inequality in risk communication practices. The results show that some patterns emerge regarding the way different EU countries convey information to the public, but they do not hold strictly to geography or administrative system. Digital media are the foremost vehicle of risk communication and the message generally conveyed is geared towards traditional, middle class households with the main language of the country as their first language. Volunteer organizations are present in all the countries in question, though not at the same degree. The conveyance of “self-protection” guidelines implicitly places the responsibility of protection to the individual. The results also show that in some countries, materiality has become more prevalent than the social dimension of risk in the message the public sector conveys, and that there is a move from focusing on risk to focusing on security.


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