Risk communication policy design: Cyprus compared to France and the Netherlands
Gutteling, Jan Martien
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This study aims at analyzing differences between risk communication policies in Cyprus, compared to the Netherlands, and France. It analyzes risk communication policies indirectly through a qualitative analysis of the information provided by official websites, which are considered to be proxies of these policies. The websites review will focus on the type of the information disclosed online, and the similarities and differences between the websites, regarding the information provided, the way it is communicated, the backing on credible sources, and the supplying of more information if desired, but also simply through the presenting of the WebPages. The results indicate that the Netherlands and France have created risk dedicated websites besides the ministries’ websites with information on risks, prevention and the authorities’ actions. There is a gap between strategies. The Dutch strategy is to give more responsibilities to the public, by encouraging individuals to be resilient and responsible for their own safety at a certain level by promoting preventive behaviors. The French strategy is to provide risk-dedicated information to the public, also on prevention and government actions. Opposed to this, the Cypriot authorities simply avoid this strategic question by confining the risk communication to the crisis phase, without entrusting people with a role in risk management, and by strictly one-directional communication, with government delivering and the public digesting (or not). Suggestions for risk communication policy development are discussed.