Speakers at the second Kuwait Media Crisis Management Conference on Wednesday agreed that the media play a crucial role in forming public opinion on the best practices in crisis prevention and management.
Dr. Redha Amin, prof. at the College of Arts, the Kingdom University - Bahrain, said: "Any crisis results primarily from a management problem before turning to be a media topic and then the public turn to media for news and information." "When the level of exposure to media reaches its climax amid the crisis, the role of responsible media should proceed from just professional coverage to direct the public to the best solutions," he pointed out.
Dr. Amin made the comments in an address to the opening session of the conference discussing the topic of "The concept of crises and disasters and the role of media." Dr. Amin noted that the media approach differs from according to the nature and scales of crises as well as the nature and tendency of the ruling regime.
Addressing the second session on "Development of media plans and strategies to face crises and emergencies," Dr. Suzanne Elin Dari said a crisis is formed through the interaction of a series of unexpected incidents.
"Any crisis could undermine the public confidence in, and the targets set by, the concerned institution, so the crisis management team should include members from outside the institution in order to be better able to find the true facts and details," Dr. Dari, a trainer in the field of communication and information, added.
On his part, Col. Staff Rtd. Fahad Al-Shelimi, a security and military expert, suggested launching a national center for crisis management in Kuwait to take charge of addressing any health or environmental problem.
"That center should be tasked with analyzing the causes of any crisis, formulating the best solutions, and developing plans for preventing crisis recurrence, he urged in his address to the third session on "the security and legal precautions." Meanwhile, Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Nami, media advisor to the rector of Imam Mohammad Ibn Saud Islamic University - Saudi Arabia, tacked the stages of the media role in crisis management from an analytical perspective.
"The media role passes through the stage of coverage and analysis to that of preparation for crisis containment before proceeding to the stage of resuming the activity of the affected institution," he said in the fourth session on the roles of public relations societies in laying out strategies for the media in this regard.
Mohammad Al-Husseini, managing editor of Al-Anba Newspaper - Kuwait, said the media shoulder the main responsibility for promoting awareness about the risks of crises and addressing the relating impacts.
"The media lead the process of lobbying the society for responding to the crises in a coordinated way and developing the culture of active response among the audience," he said in the fourth session addressing the topic of "Constraints of the media work during crises and emergencies.
The Conference was opened earlier today by Kuwaiti Minister of Information and Minister of State for Youth Affairs Sheikh Salman Sabah Al-Salem Al-Humoud Al-Sabah.