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Environmental Conflict and the Media

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Edited By Libby Lester and Brett Hutchins

Has the hype associated with the «revolutionary» potential of the World Wide Web and digital media for environmental activism been muted by the past two decades of lived experience? What are the empirical realities of the prevailing media landscape?
Using a range of related disciplinary perspectives, the contributors to this book analyze and explain the complicated relationship between environmental conflict and the media. They shine light on why media are central to historical and contemporary conceptions of power and politics in the context of local, national and global issues and outline the emerging mixture of innovation and reliance on established strategies in environmental campaigns.
With cases drawn from different sections of the globe – Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States, Europe, Latin America, China, Japan, the Pacific Islands, Africa – the book demonstrates how conflicts emanate from and flow across multiple sites, regions and media platforms and examines the role of the media in helping to structure collective discussion, debate and decision-making.
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14 Public Communication, Environmental Crises and Nuclear Disasters: A Comparative Approach: Clio Kenterelidou

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Environmental crises and nuclear disasters are unexpected and irreversible. They are an immediate natural and/or human-induced disaster of a large magnitude causing large-scale threat to human health and/or the environment. Such events lead to severe health problems and environmental degradation (Fink, 1986), and affecting the parties involved as well as their publics, products/services, or good name (Fearn-Banks, 1996; Ho and Hallahan, 2004; Kenterelidou and Panagiotou, 2006).

Environmental crises and nuclear disasters do not respect borders; they become global almost instantly with the help of the media. The news media transmit environmental crises information to audiences, deliver news about the crises, issues and policies, and distribute information about pertinent issues lying outside people’s immediate realm of experience (Cox, 2010; Iyengar, 1991; Scheufele, 2002). Environmental crises and nuclear disasters stick in people’s minds and frequently have a much wider public impact than any other kinds of crises. Crises also have a strong (inter)linkage with powerful environmental lobbies that achieve a lot of publicity by publishing stories about these events. The newsworthiness of environmental crises and nuclear disasters can be explained by the following: ← 215 | 216 →

 

a)almost everyone has an interest in the environment, which as a word and idea evokes different emotions and responses for different people. Images of dying wildlife and humans have a huge visual and mental impact on all generations;

b)the crises involve drama, tragedy, and the presence of political elites or celebrities and their comments about the...

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