The significance of digital media in local public space crisis management: The case of Poland, the United Kingdom and Italy

Journal article

Biernacka-Ligieza, I. 2021. The significance of digital media in local public space crisis management: The case of Poland, the United Kingdom and Italy. Journal of Arab & Muslim Media Research. 14 (1), pp. 47-70.
AuthorsBiernacka-Ligieza, I.
AbstractThis article recognizes the potential and possibilities of digital media in COVID-19 crisis management in different democratic systems. It is the comparative analysis of information management during the COVID-19 pandemic in Poland, the United Kingdom and Italy. From the theoretical approach, the crisis management usually deals with two main models. The first one is defined as the post-reactive model, which is based on reacting to events after the first symptoms of the crisis and the communication model remains the top-down process. The second one is described as the pro-reactive model, which is based on building a dialogue space with the participatory community and it is the bottom-up communication process. In this case, the community becomes an active partner in bridging the crisis. The main goal of the proposed article is to examine the ways in which digital media influences the quality of strategic communication management in local public spaces and what type of crisis management strategy is applied to each political culture. The article discusses the pros and cons of information distributed through digital platforms by both the media and public institutions in terms of community awareness and crisis governance. The article applies a mixed method approach, which includes content analysis (media and governmental digital services), interviews (with the authorities’ members and media representatives) and social media network analysis (mainly Facebook). The analysis has been ongoing since the beginning of the pandemic in Europe (March–September 2020). The research has demonstrated that the shape and distribution of information during the pandemic were of great importance for the quality of information strategy activities. The problem was noticeable disinformation at all levels, which was the result of a lack of control over the message and the pursuit of sensation or conspiracy. It was clearly observed that without the support of crisis communication during the pandemic by the media, mainly digital platforms, it would be impossible to implement it. In all three countries, social media was the ‘information management centre’ in the COVID-19 era, but the activity of individual municipalities was slightly different. As far as the urbanized and semi-urbanized level is concerned, some consistency can be observed. In all three cases, communication on social media platforms was conducted very intensively and with the use of various tools (texts, statistics, instructional videos, scientific articles, infographics, etc.). All the ‘organizers’ of the local public sphere (presidents, mayors, journalists, service representatives) tried to keep in touch with the inhabitants.
KeywordsDigital media; Public spaces; Crisis management
JournalJournal of Arab & Muslim Media Research
Journal citation14 (1), pp. 47-70
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
FunderThe European Union’s Horizon 2020 MSCA IF
Publication dates
Online01 Apr 2021
Print01 Apr 2021
Publication process dates
Accepted05 Feb 2021
Deposited19 Apr 2021
Accepted author manuscript
File Access Level
Output statusPublished
Permalink -

Restricted files

Accepted author manuscript

  • 4
    total views
  • 0
    total downloads
  • 0
    views this month
  • 0
    downloads this month

Export as