27 Aug 2020

Communication is Aid: Dr Unni Krishnan

Communication is as essential as aid in times of a humanitarian crisis, said Dr. Unni Krishnan, recently. Appropriate information at the appropriate time for the appropriate people is a life-saver, he said. Dr. Krishnan, Humanitarian Director of War Child, a UK based not-for-profit organization was speaking to students of the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media.

Speaking on Media and Humanitarian Action: Media in Disasters, Wars and Pandemic Settings, Dr Krishnan discussed the role of the media to inform, educate and empower when reporting on humanitarian issues. He gave the students four key humanitarian principles: humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence, to help differentiate between “an act of charity” and a “work about right”.

He also spoke about his published work ‘Horrors I will never forget’ that he and his team wrote whilst covering the refugee crisis in Cox’s Bazaar which contain stories of Rohingya children, that later used as testimonies in the UN to ask for legal sanctions against the Burmese police. He told the students to never doubt the impact of media in aid work by citing the example of a high charity collection during the South Asia Earthquake when an 86 minute TV coverage collected US$300 per targeted beneficiary.

“Many relief organizations today”, he said, “are actively hiring media management consultants as they have realized the influence media coverage can have on policy-making around the world.”

By Kivleen Sahni

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