Journalists need to be sensitised on the critical role they play in a disaster scenario; in issuing early warnings; and in spreading awareness to help preparedness and mitigation. They need to be made conscious of the possible positive implications or negative fallouts of a disaster report. Basic tenants of journalism need to be re-evaluated and examined against this backdrop.
Rather than prescribing solutions, the training need is to facilitate discussion and instigate the thinking process around these issues. It also seeks to promote collaborative relationships between different facets of the media and the government.
A series of such trainings will help develop a culture of more sensitive, accurate and holistic disaster reporting. In the long run, this will help develop more resilient communities as the public becomes better informed.
This publication by the National Institute of Disaster Management of India answers important ethical questions that journalists ask themselves when reporting on disasters: How to balance between painting the true picture of scale and concerns of dignity and intrusion into grief; accuracy and balance.
It also explains development and environmental degradation in light of disaster risks.