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Disaster reporting requires sensitivity: Turkish communications director

In times of disaster and crisis, journalism requires sensitivity to inform the public accurately, Türkiye’s Communications Director Fahrettin Altun has said. 

“During disaster times, informing the public quickly, accurately, reliably and transparently is as vital as emergency response and effective aid organisation,” Altun told the panel discussion – We Hear Your Voice: Journalism Panel in Disaster and Crisis Regions – in the capital Ankara on Tuesday.

“In this process, it is also a necessity to combat disinformation.” 

Türkiye sees the importance of this particularly after the February 6 earthquakes, which rocked 11 Turkish provinces and killed more than 50,000 people, he added.

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‘Systematic disinformation’

Stressing that Türkiye witnessed “systematic disinformation and black propaganda attempts,” Altun said: “We encountered situations such as unconfirmed posts interrupting search and rescue activities and costing human lives.” 

Undoubtedly, Altun said, journalism in times of disaster and crisis requires a different sensitivity. 

“Therefore, media should act with the responsibility of a ‘solutions partner’ in such cases. 

“First of all, we should keep in mind that unconfirmed information has a poisoning effect on the disaster and crisis environment because false information that is spread intentionally or unconsciously can cost a human life,” the communications director said. 

Altun called on media institutions to give importance to disaster reporting as a field of expertise and strengthen the infrastructure in this field.

Death toll from February earthquakes in Türkiye tops grim mark of 50,000

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