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Media’s role significant in times of disasters

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 22/05/2019

It is vital to break down walls between authorities and media in times of natural disasters and emergency – in order to deliver their roles effectively to the public.

Mark Bowling of Pacmas who’s currently facilitating a second day workshop for journalist and stakeholders on the issue said – both parties plays a vital role in times of emergency and natural disaster – therefore it is important that they co-operate further in the issue.

“For journalist there’s so much to know about disasters, both in terms of coverage, and keeping account of the authorities and what they do but also but also in actually being a resistance in the emergency process and saving lives. And that is to be able to get messages out quickly to people. The messages that people can understand and also act on. So if there’s a cyclone or a tsunami coming they can get to the emergency shelter, and take cover very quickly, In terms of early warning very important to media. But also after an emergency disaster has hit that very long time period and there’s chaos and confusion people are in trauma and this can go on for weeks, months and years, this is when the media can really play a vital part, in helping people get their lives back together. “

Bowling also spoke on the significance of the workshop to journalists.

“I expect media in some of the issues around emergency management phases and cycles of an emergency which is ofcoz not just when a disaster hit, it’s about the medication, preparation, recovery, and sometimes as we know, recovery after a cyclone takes weeks, months, years. It’s a long time, cost a lot of money. “

The workshop is attended by representatives from NEMO and members from the media.

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