Regional media: radio alone insufficient in emergencies

9th February 2011, Comments 0 comments

The Dutch regional public broadcasters want television and the internet to be used in addition to radio for official announcements in emergency situations.

At the moment, the public are told to listen to their regional radio station for official information in the event of a disaster. Gerard Schuiteman, director of the Foundation for Regional Broadcasting Consultation and Cooperation, says that the use of only radio in a disaster scenario is inadequate, and the internet and TV should also convey this official information to the public. He will shortly be meeting with members of the government to discuss the situation. Following the recent , the regional broadcasters investigated the possibility of borrowing internet capacity from each other when a disaster occurs, to prevent websites crashing. But Mr Schuiteman says that while that sounds logical, it's technically very complex at the moment. He wants to see a more robust and flexible system put in place. Statutory role Regional broadcasters have often experienced insufficient server capacity when the number of visitors has risen sharply within a short time due to an event such as the one in Moerdijk. In that instance, the regional broadcaster had to set up an emergency site without video and audio material to handle the extra load. "We need the government to recognise that radio alone is inadequate for coping with emergency situations, and that the statutory role for regional broadcasters should be expanded to include the internet and television" said Mr Schuiteman. If the government will recognise that, together we can look at ways of delivering a better service."

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