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January 28, 2021
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Emergency Broadcasting in PNG Vital for Disaster Risk Reduction

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The Asia-Pacific Telecommunity continued with day two of its policy and regulation forum for the Pacific today.

The sessions looked at cyber security and Internet policy issues that are vital for protecting Internet users.

Presentations also covered emergency communications and ICT for disaster risk reduction.

Ian Mannix has been the Manager of Emergency Broadcasting for 10 years with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). In his experience, he said emergency broadcasting is unique in the media world.

He said emergency broadcasting shouldn’t be confused with broadcasting warnings, and it certainly isn’t simply news. His talk illustrated the need to involve the media in disaster management.

Mannix now works in Port Moresby with the Media Development Initiative, a DFAT funded project run by ABC International Development.

He said in many other countries the media is fully involved in issuing warnings before disasters, and they also issue important survival information throughout the recovery phase.

He said vulnerable communities like small island developing states can benefit from partnerships created around emergency broadcasting. However there is often limited contact between forecasters and disaster managers, as well as various sectors of the economy.

Mannix said an important way to reach the mass population is through the media.

He urged policy makers and regulators to seriously look into giving the media a formal role in the early disaster warning chain if countries are to have effective emergency systems.

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