Risk analysis using the Internet for public risk communication
Center for Security Studies, ETH Zurich
Number of pages
Focal report 8:
This report addresses key issues of online public risk communication. It identifies the main goals of risk communication generically and how they may be achieved using the Internet. In particular, it shows possible strategies of how key elements of traditional risk management can be adapted to the new information environment.
After an introductive section, in the second part of the report, the concept of risk communication is clarified and some major trends in risk communication research and practice are sketched out. It discusses conditions of successful public risk communication militate against the use of technical approaches to risk communication. Thereafter, section 3 addresses the question of how current challenges of risk communication can be met in a communication environment in which the Internet and other information and communication technologies play an increasingly important role.
To this end, it first discusses how online communication platforms can be employed by organizational risk communicators to learn about risk perceptions and risk acceptance among relevant stakeholders, and identifies issues that organizational risk communication should address. Secondly, it examines different ways to use new communication technologies to design an organizational communication approach that is tailored to the specific needs of particular target groups.
Finally, it discusses the possibility of establishing mutual trust, shared responsibility and cooperation between organizations and their environments with the help of ICT. In the final section, it concludes with an overview of different steps to adapt established risk management processes and institutions to the information age.