Mass media as a source of information about extreme natural phenomena in Southern Poland

Wojciech Biernacki, Anita Bokwa, Bolesław Domański, Jarosław Działek, Karol Janas, Tomasz Padło


The paper presents the preliminary results of the project entitled ‘Public attitudes and behaviours concerning extreme natural phenomena in Southern Poland’, carried out in the years 2005-2008 at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland. The aim was to study the public perception of floods, strong winds and landslides in a representative group of Polish citizens, living in rural and urban areas, who experienced the mentioned extreme phenomena and those who did not. The frequency of occurrence of extreme phenomena influences their perception, which is then reflected in people’s actions, e.g. those who experienced a few floods are much more careful about future flood predictions and undertake much more precautions to protect themselves than those who experienced only one flood event. Mass media are the preferred means of information and they play a key role in shaping the understanding of environmental problems. However, the quality of information in the media is usually rather poor and burdened with a strong negative emotional load.

Keywords: extreme natural phenomena, Southern Poland, mass media, public attitude

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Communicating Climate Change: Discourses, Mediations and Perceptions
ISBN: 978-989-95500-3-2

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Centro de Estudos de Comunicação e Sociedade (CECS)
Universidade do Minho