D.04.3. Communication patterns and effective channels of communication
This deliverable combines qualitative and quantitative survey methods to provide an
analysis of communication channels and patterns between policy makers, stakeholders
(i.e. companies), and citizens in the areas of security and risk in regards to three
specific areas of critical infrastructure – air transport, public transport, and CNI.
Based on the literature of political communication, we first propose a new theoretical
framework for the comparative study of communications in the field of security. We
then provide an overview of the media landscapes in the countries under study, paying
special attention to the national and international context and its changes over recent
years. In order to further validate the use of media for our analysis, we analyse public
trust in the media and confirm that, due to high trust and the high salience of security
issues in the media in recent years, the media offers a good subject for the comparative
study of the difficult balance between security and freedom.
In the third section, we define salience as a tool for studying communication within
security. The fourth and most important part of the deliverable, the analysis, studies
salience within the domains of airports, critical infrastructure and public transport.
In the case of airports, we have identified that the three most important factors that
affect the salience of a security measure is the nature of the security measure itself, the
explanation of the security measure provided to passengers by airport authorities, and
finally the amount of attention paid by authorities to passengers’ perception and
acceptance of measures. In an age when air travel is increasingly open to passengers of
various ages and social and cultural backgrounds, the challenge for security authorities
is recognizing and addressing the diverse needs of these passengers in communicating
and providing security, whilst acknowledging and respecting the needs of passengers.
In regards to critical infrastructure, we highlight the specific character of this debate.
The media’s discussion of Stuxnet was very important, as it was the first transnational
debate of cyber-attacks and cyber warfare. The salience and resonance of Stuxnet also
highlighted the degree to which cyber threats can affect the everyday activities of
citizens, such as online communication, sharing information via social networks, internet
banking, paying with credit cards, etc.
In respect to public transport, we find that, first, CCTV cameras have high positive
salience and are thus an enthusiastically accepted crime-prevention measure. Second,
considering public transport passengers most frequent complaints, CCTV is the best
instrument to mitigate these problems. Third, overall we find low negative salience, i.e.
few complaints. Fourth, high correlation between incidents and complaints over time
suggests that an in-depth qualitative analysis of complaints can provide important
insights into passengers’ (security) concerns.
This deliverable emphasizes the distinction between perceived and real security, as well
as the difference between punitive and preventive security measures, though both of
these measures have the potential to improve or weaken perceived security. It is
therefore crucial that security authorities and transport operators take into
consideration not only the possible effects of proposed measures on actual security, but
also asses its acceptance and perception by passengers.
Our analysis concludes that the effective explanation of security risks and security
measures is the most important task of contemporary governments and stakeholders. In
this process media plays a crucial role, both providing information as well as being a
platform for the critical public debate of costs, benefits, and risks associated with
existing and emerging security threats and issues.