Digital Communication and Risk in the ’Refugee Crisis’

Citizens' initiatives and the communication strategies of public authorities

Please note: This page refers to an event that has already taken place.

Time: Wednesday, 11 November 2015 08:30-10:00
Place: PRIO, Hausmanns gate 3, Oslo

​DIGICOM Breakfast Briefing II

Smart phones, GPS location services, interactive maps, online portals: these are some of the tools that have been put at disposal, designed and used by migrants and refugees along their ways to Europe, to stay in touch with their families at home or at their destination, and to plan the safest route. Indeed, among the main responses to what is generally called the largest 'refugee crisis' since the Second World War, a wealth of citizen initiatives have provided some forms of 'digital support' to respond to the needs of the refugees, during their journey as well as upon their arrival in different European countries. From the Refugees Welcome-initiatives, with national and local chapters in several European countries, organizing volunteers through Facebook and other social media to provide food, clothes as well as housing to the refugees, to other uses of digital platforms to collect information and channel this to the refugees, from which border crossing points to avoid to where to find assistance and help.

To better understand these responses and to draw conclusions for policy making on risk and crisis communication, this seminar addresses the following questions:

  • What were the risks perceived that made citizens in different European countries come together and start initiatives such as the Refugees Welcome?
  • How have public authorities used digital and social media platforms to respond to the situation?
  • What was the role that digital communication means played in making these responses possible?
  • What opportunities do these tools offer, and what are the new risks and challenges that arise with them?

Speakers and programme:

  • Maria Gabrielsen Jumbert (PRIO), introductory comments on the opportunities and challenges created by digital tools for risk communication
  • Knud Andreas Kleppe, (Volunteer and member of interim board of Refugees Welcome to Norway initiative) in conversation with Mareile Kaufmann (PRIO) about the influence of digital communication means on the organization of crisis mangement platforms
  • Christopher Wilson, (co-founder of The Engine Room, independent researcher), on technology-driven civil society responses to the refugee crisis: a preliminary reflection on opportunities and risks.​
  • Additional speakers tbc.

A light breakfast will be served.

The seminar is organized as part of the DIGICOM project, funded by the Norwegian Research Council's SAMRISK program, and is co-hosted by the Norwegian Centre for Humanitarian Studies.

Registration via the PRIO event portal.