When Worlds Collide #112: Social Media ‘Candles’ for Mainstream Media Blackouts

When Worlds Collide, by Nalaka Gunawardene

Text of my ‘When Worlds Collide’ column published in Ceylon Today newspaper on 20 June 2014

Many Muslim-owned properties have been attacked and some set alight - AP photo Many Muslim-owned properties have been attacked and some set alight – AP photo

What is the best way to manage public information in times of national crises – whether disasters, epidemics or conflict?

All governments face this question from time to time and respond with varying degrees of success. It has become especially challenging today due to multiple, instant modes of communications. Suppressing the flow of information is much harder and ultimately counterproductive.

This point was driven home once again in the aftermath of serious communal riots in Aluthgama, Beruwala and Dharga Town this week. At the time of writing (Wednesday afternoon), all right-minded people were hoping the clashes would not spread elsewhere.

The proliferation of information and communication technologies (ICTs) has introduced a new dimension to such crisis situations. The multiplicity of…

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