Davide Viero

“ICTs and Web Tools to Manage Crises: Between Information and Engagement”

Date: Wednesday, 16 March 2022
Time: 10:45 CET (18:45 JST)

The COVID-19 pandemic and the enforced rules aimed at stopping the spread of the virus have brought radical changes to social life worldwide. Quick communication and promotion of health and safety protocols have been fundamental, with digital technologies and ICTs playing a vital role in keeping people connected and allowing rapid policy decisions.
High reliance on web tools, websites and social media for information characterises modern society and defines information-seeking behaviours during the pandemic. However, that has favoured the spread of an overload of information, including fake and unclear news. This phenomenon, known as infodemic, further impacts an already worried public and puts pressure on how governments handle the transition and approach to digital communication.
With the increasing hunger for information on the virus, many governments established direct lines to reach the communities and websites and digital platforms to track the impact of COVID-19 or broadcast health protocols and news. Many governmental functions further shifted towards digital formats in the first pandemic stages, strengthening and testing the existing e-governing platforms and their ability to provide services and up-to-date information to the public.
Regardless of crises, informing citizens of their rights, responsibilities, and options is essential to legitimise citizen participation, which is fundamental to face crises. However, partial application and mono-directional flow of information limit possibilities for engagement and the development of fitting solutions. In this workshop, we will discuss the degree to which communities should and have been given a chance to react, provide feedback, and participate in designing adequate solutions in crises. Through debates and practical simulations, we will do that by focusing on the role of information and communication technologies during crises at different levels of governance and how governmental websites may provide chances for open and two-sided communication, consequently increasing e-participation possibilities.