Önkormányzati kommunikáció a COVID-19 világjárvány okozta krízishelyzetben

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Baranyai, Nóra
Barsi, Boglárka
Nárai, Márta
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Local governments had a key and prominent role in tackling COVID-19 pandemic. Their task was to take short-term measures quickly, to organize protection and care for those in need. The main objective of our paper is to present, how local governments communicated with their inhabitants on various online interfaces in this crisis situation. Our analysis covers 54 settlements representing all the different levels of the settlement network from large cities to small villages. We examined the webpages and Facebook pages of local governments and mayors, firstly during the first wave, then during the second and the third waves of the pandemic. Recognizing their responsibility, local governments clearly tried to provide all the information to the inhabitants as quickly as possible. They considered the online interfaces the most effective, but the online communication had typically been complemented by information published on more traditional channels as well. There were no significant difference in terms of the way and characteristics of communication among the different types of settlements, although local governments of different sizes obviously had to face different challenges in terms of the amount of tasks they had to tackle. The communication process was a very difficult task because of the lack of information and the not entirely transparent data provision. Even on the Facebook pages especially suitable for this purpose, interactivity rumbled, and in many cases the questions and suggestions of the inhabitants remained unanswered. It is instructive that, with few exceptions, local authorities do not place emphasis on surveying local needs and opinions. The full range of measures and contact with the public cannot be evaluated from local governmental online communication, but it can be said that the publication of information has changed thematically and has significantly declined in volume and frequency since the first month of the epidemic in March 2020. There were local governments that performed excellently in online communication, i.e. they published regular and relevant information, but there were also some (mainly small settlements) that did not use these channels at all or after a while. The latter may be explained by the fact that the population of the settlement – due to its age composition or the characteristics of Internet use – can be effectively informed mainly through other, traditional channels. There is little doubt that the lack of information available to local governments, declining local empowerment, and growing central management in epidemic management may also have resulted in less and less communication at the local level.
COVID-19 járvány , önkormányzati kommunikáció
Scientia et Securitas 2:(3) pp. 358-370. (2021)