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Aim of this Broadcasters Tsunami Response Subsite

One Year On - Are Broadcasters Ready for the next Tsunami?

This wiki is still being maintained to track how aid and training donated by broadcasters is still being used in areas affected by the December 26th Earthquake and Tsunami of 2004 and the subsequent earthquake on Monday March 28th 2005. As the anniversary of the first Tsunami of 2004 approaches, we are hoping this survey will help us to be better prepared for the next disaster of this kind - and learn as much of possible from the tragedy and the way it was handled by NGOs and broadcasters alike.

The initial findings of this survey indicate that, whilst radios were quickly donated to the affected regions, a lot of time was lost getting FM radio stations back on the air to broadcast health and welfare information. Just as there are food-aid stocks in certain strategic centres around the world, so it would be advisable to have portable 300 watt FM stations-in-a-box ready to fly out to areas to get crisis radio up and running as soon as possible. We're convinced that these situations need help from qualified technicians - just sending a suitcase transmitter is not going to be enough...this needs to be rugged to withstand really tough conditions of, damp, dirt and dust. We also recommend a rugged set of reporting equipment (not MiniDisc) and microphones connected to mobile phones (in areas where the mobile phone service is quickly restored, this system is the fastest way of getting reports from the scene back to the studio).

Earthquake and Tsunami damage has put many smaller stations in the Indian Ocean region off the air and rebuilding work has only really just started. It would appear that media (both radio and TV) responded better during the earthquake on March 28th, but full response systems won't be in place until later in the year. This site is in it for the long-term.

The authors believe by sharing this information on a portal, that broadcasters will be stimulated to coordinate their efforts. To avoid spam robot engines, e-mail addresses have been doctored - AT has been put instead of @. Read more


There is a lot of information on this site. To maintain an overview, we have split the information into seperate pages. For simple navigation within this broadcasters section, please follow the links on the right side menu.

Asian Media Forum

The Asia Media Forum (AMF) is looking for quality, in-depth stories for its special series on tsunami-hit countries and communities. Writers of accepted story proposals will get grants for local travel to cover their stories. They will also be eligible for selection for overseas assignments for a series the AMF will have in December 2005-- the anniversary of the tsunami.

The stories will be published on the AMF website ( and distributed to regional and international media by Inter Press Service Asia-Pacific.

Interested journalists from Thailand, Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives are invited to submit a one-page story proposal listing story lines, place of coverage and target sources to Journalists can choose to either write in English or in their local languages.

The Asia Media Forum website is a newly-established space for journalists to share insights on issues related to the media and their profession, as well as stories, information and opinions on democracy, development and human rights in Asia.

International Strategy for Disaster Reduction starts collaboration with ABU

The International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) secretariat is starting a new collaboration with the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU). The purpose of this new collaboration is to develop new radio and television products to better educate and prepare people against natural hazards in Asia-Pacific countries.

"ISDR considers media an essential partner to enhance public safety and adverse impacts of natural disasters. Media are not only part of the early warning chain; they are the best channel to prepare communities for disasters. They can help educate people on the need to reduce risk by regularly informing on the hazards and social vulnerabilities that may lead to disasters. Media also play an important role in convincing Governments and citizens to invest in disaster reduction”, says Salvano Briceño, Director of the ISDR secretariat.

Two media workshops gathering more than 30 broadcasters from the Indian Ocean region will be organized in Bangkok at the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) on 13-16 June, together with the participation of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO ) and the UNESCO and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The workshops will be facilitated by CNN.

"It is just the beginning of a new collaboration. We are planning to promote educational programmes like the ones we are already developing in Africa, in Latin America and the Caribbean, and incite broadcasters to invest more in disaster reduction. Education and preparedness are the key to reduce the number of affected people by natural hazards every year. If people know what to do, they can save their own life. Education on disasters should be part of the school’s curriculum like it is in Japan and Cuba, for instance. The more people are aware of the risks they face, the better chance they have to save their lives when hazards strikes", says Mr. Briceño.

The ISDR is planning other events to raise public awareness of disaster reduction and emergency preparedness by promoting specific educational programmes.

"Broadcasters have a responsibility to educate people and raise their awareness of the dangers of natural disasters. They can do this by airing public service announcements, producing special programmes to mark the anniversaries of previous disasters and creating other content", says David Astley, Secretary-General of the ABU. "The ABU is well positioned to both coordinate the improvement of emergency warning systems through television and radio among broadcasters across the Pacific region and to assist in the development of content designed to educate audiences in advance on how to respond in the event of emergencies and natural disasters."

"Six months after the tsunami disaster, ISDR encourages media to go to the region and investigate if houses, schools, hospitals, public facilities are built back better as it is promoted by UN Special Envoy former-President Clinton" says Mr. Briceño.

Partnership between ABU and UN to Reduce Impact of Natural Disasters

ABU and UN ISDR to implement series of regional workshops on effective early warning systems

Kuala Lumpur, 11 May 2021 - The Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) is partnering with the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN ISDR) for the enhancement of radio and television broadcast information flows aimed at reducing the impact of natural disasters in Asia-Pacific Countries.

The ABU and UNISDR will implement a series of regional workshops for radio and television broadcasters to help develop faster, more effective early warning systems in the Asia-Pacific region by increasing the rate and accuracy of information flows from meteorological and disaster management organisations to broadcasters; to ensure a rapid flow of disaster and emergency information from broadcasters to the public; to help develop faster, more accurate coverage of disasters when they strike; and to raise public awareness of disaster reduction and emergency preparedness by airing special educational programmes and public service announcements.

"No matter how good the technology or how accurate the forecast and warnings, if the information does not reach the people in danger in a timely and understandable manner, the warning system fails. Media have a huge responsibility together with governments in the warning issuing. They need to work together to ensure that a clear and consistent message is provided to the public” says the UN ISDR Director, Mr Salvano Briceño.

"Broadcasters have a responsibility to educate people and raise their awareness of the dangers of natural disasters. They can do this by airing public service announcements, producing special programmes to mark the anniversaries of previous disasters and creating other content,” says Mr David Astley, Secretary-General of the ABU. “The ABU is well positioned to both coordinate the improvement of emergency warning systems through television and radio among broadcasters across the region as well as in assisting in the development of content designed to educate audiences in advance on how to respond in the event of emergencies and natural disasters".

The project is a follow-on activity to an ABU workshop on Natural Disasters and the Broadcaster’s Role, hosted by Japan’s public broadcaster, Nippon Hoso Kyokai (NHK), in Tokyo in February. Broadcast journalists and engineers attending the workshop called for ways of receiving prompt warnings from governments and international agencies.

"Following the recommendations of the ABU/NHK workshop, the ABU is partnering with UN ISDR who are coordinating the most effective lines of communication with the necessary organisations such as the World Meteorological Organisation, the International Telecommunications Union and the UNESCO International Oceanographic Commission,” says David Astley. “Through ABU’s coordination of the broadcast community and UN ISDR’s coordination of the international organisations, we will achieve the most effective partnership for improving communication systems and achieving the requirements identified by the earlier Tokyo meetings."

The first workshop, titled 'Emergency Information Flows From Meteorological Organisations to Broadcasters' will be more technical in nature and will involve Technical or News Directors from broadcast companies and Operational Directors from meteorological, oceanographic and disaster management organisations to review the rate and accuracy in getting information from meteorological, oceanographic and geological organisations to broadcasters and the general public.

The second workshop, titled 'Public Awareness, Preparedness and Response of Individuals and Communities' will focus on the broadcasters capacity and responsibility to educate audiences and raise awareness of the dangers of and appropriate responses to natural disasters through the use of public service announcements, educational documentaries, current affairs programming and other content. This workshop will involve Programming and Production Directors from broadcast companies from the 12 tsunami-affected countries. The attached workshop agendas will provide additional information on the content and objectives of the events.

"Media can achieve a lot, they can warn people without scaring them, they can educate them and better prepare them to face natural hazards, they are key players in the long chain that ultimately will reduce risk and vulnerability to save people’s lives and livelihoods" says UN/ISDR Director, Mr Salvano Briceño.

As part of the initiative, participating broadcasters will be encouraged to create a 6-month anniversary update report on the status of recovery efforts in the countries affected by the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami.

"We hope that as a follow on activity to this workshop that our broadcasters will also exercise their ability to hold donors, governments and relief agencies accountable to their pledges for reconstruction by placing a discerning eye on the reconstruction efforts since the December 2004 tsunami disaster," says David Astley.

UNESCO to aid Aceh broadcasters

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, UNESCO, is to give US$500,000 to broadcasters in the tsunami-devastated Indonesian province of Aceh to get their stations back up and running. The eight-member bureau of a UNESCO communications development programme met and voted to provide the money to broadcasters in the province.

Seventeen other projects in Asia and the Pacific will receive a total of US$293,000 from UNESCO's International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) from funds provided by voluntary donors.

The IPDC comprises an intergovernmental council of 39 member states, elected by UNESCO's General Conference and scheduled to meet every two years, and a bureau of eight member states nominated by the council.

The bureau meets annually to appraise proposals and allocate funding for media projects. Last year it granted US$1.84 million to 66 projects.

Dart Center to Hold Conference April 15th

The Dart Center will host an April 15 conference at the University of Washington in Seattle, USA to explore lessons learned for journalists in the aftermath of the South Asian tsunami, and identify the next steps in covering the social, political and economic fallout of the disaster.

CNN anchor Aaron Brown will be the event's keynote speaker. After a series of panel discussions during the day, the evening program will begin with the annual $10,000 Dart Award for Excellence in Reporting on Victims of Violence, this year won by The Detroit Free Press for the series “Homicide in Detroit: Echoes of Violence.” Honorable mentions will be presented to the Orange County Register and Rocky Mountain News. Following the Dart Award ceremony, a special panel discussion will include:

Chris Cramer, managing director, CNN International Sarah Ward-Lilley, managing editor, newsgathering, BBC News Nurdin Hasan, political editor, Serambi Indonesia Daily Kimina Lyall, Southwest Asia correspondent for The Australian Barry Petersen, Tokyo bureau chief, CBS News

The day program will run from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and will take place in the Walker Ames Room, 2nd Floor, of Kane Hall, on the UW campus. The evening program will be in 130 Kane Hall, beginning at 7 p.m. All sessions are free and open to the public.

For more information, contact Roger Simpson, director of the Dart Center, at +1 800-332-0565 or, via e-mail, at roger.simpson AT

Dart Report on Tsunami Coverage

The London branch of the center has posted an excellent report on coverage of the Tsunami on its website at . At the Frontline Club discussion in London on Feb 22 2005, journalists, trauma specialists and aid workers spoke powerfully of what they witnessed - and about what was helpful and what definitely wasn't in terms of psychological support. There was animated discussion too of whether the BBC's Ben Brown should have been shown consoling a grief-stricken woman who'd lost her house and family.

European Commission Tsunami Disaster Website

This Web site is a joint effort of the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the EC and its partners to support humanitarian aid and reconstruction, to report the major findings and lessons learnt and to provide complementary information on the Tsunami.

A model for Tsunami propagation has been developed by JRC. The model allows to predict the propagation wave once the initial location of the earthquake is fixed. The model, in contrast to other detailed 3d models, is extremely fast but sufficiently precise that it can be integrated in the Global Disaster Alert System to give a first estimate should the conditions favour a Tsunami (magnitude > 7 and epicenter in a location under water). An on-line procedure is available to calculate the Tsunami event.

For more details visit the Web site (

ITU Secretary-General says readiness to use radio was lacking

In his opening statement to the 2nd PrepCom of the Tunis Phase of the World Summit on the Information Society on 17 February, ITU Secretary-General Yoshio Utsumi said that radio had not been used as effectively as it could have been. He also announced the start of a new initative to ensure better coordination of information.

"Recently, I read an article about a man in Indonesia who was in his car as the earthquake struck. He instinctively felt something was wrong and switched on his radio. But instead of news, all he heard for hours was music and chatter. It was only many hours afterward that news of the tsunami catastrophe came to him over the radio. For me, this story illustrates how technologies, like radio, could have helped limit the damage. Radio sets and broadcasting system were there, but the readiness to use them was lacking.

"Technology leads to real progress only when fully supported by people, not to mention governments and industry."

The full text of Mr Utsumi's statement is on the ITU Website ( In that statement, he adds

"This is why I am pleased to announce that ITU will lead a new global effort to establish new initiatives and scale up existing ones to connect all communities by 2015.

This new multi-stakeholder initiative is called “Partners to Connect the World”. It will bring together private sector companies, governments, NGOs and international organizations in a joint effort to address the global digital divide. There are many exciting projects already underway in this area, including a number in which ITU is an active contributor. “Partners to connect the World” will not be another project. Rather, it will be a complementary, high profile, global platform for partners to promote existing projects, launch new partnerships and share experiences and best practices. We will build this new initiative over the coming months, and we will take our first major step towards connecting the world at a high level gathering of partners at the Tunis Summit".

Note that Christopher Clark at the ITU is coordinating the "Partners to Connect the World" project mentioned in the Secretary General's Address to the WSIS Prep. He can be contacted at

Support from Broadcasting Unions in the World

Overall Coordination Role by Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union

If you wish to offer practical assistance to the affected broadcasters in the Asian region, PLEASE get in touch with Sharad Sadhu at the Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union first! He is coordinating the activites by member broadcasters in the region. The website of the Asia Pacific Broadcasting Unionalso ( has the latest information. Sharad's contact details are below. E-mail is probably the best method.

Equipment Donations

As of January 20th 2005, the first cache of 20,000 radio sets for survivors of the tsunami disaster are on their way to the capital cities of Indonesia, Sri Lanka and the Maldives, as ABU members do their bit to help in relief efforts. The radio sets, with two sets of fresh batteries each, are being flown to Jakarta, Colombo and Male. Arrangements have been made to clear the consignments at the destination ports.

The initiative to send the radio sets to stricken areas was mooted by Joan Warner, the CEO of Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) on the New Year’s Day, and is being coordinated by the ABU secretariat in Kuala Lumpur. Some 23,000 radio sets, low power radio and television transmitters, emergency studio equipment, portable production equipment and volunteer engineers are among the needs identified by affected broadcasters.

Sharad Sadhu,
Head of Transmission Technology & Spectrum:
Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union
P O Box 1164
59700 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +60-3 2282-3108 Fax: +60-3 2282-4606 e-mail: sharad.s AT
Street address: Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union 2nd Floor, New IPTAR Bldg. Angkasapuri 50614 Kuala Lumpur MALAYSIA

Once initial contact has been made, ABU is asking people to communicate directly with the broadcasting organisation concerned for delivery of the equipment or offers of training.

ABU TV Programmes Appeal

The ABU has initiated a programme exchange in response to the tsunami disaster whereby members in developed countries will offer educational and documentary programmes about tsunamis to members in developing countries. These will be offered on a rights-free basis. This follows requests from members in the disaster-affected countries who are interested in sourcing TV programmes on tsunamis and earthquakes (formation, damage, disaster prevention measures, etc).

The exchange project aims to raise the awareness of tsunamis and possible ways of preventing the damage to property and loss of lives.

The project is being organised as follows:

1) The ABU will collate information on programmes available the forms submitted by members with suitable programmes that can be made available rights-free to members in developing countries.

2) The list of the offered programmes will be sent directly to the affected members and also posted on the ABU website.

3) At a later date, in return for the rights-free programmes being offered to developing countries, the ABU will seek footage of the disaster and relief efforts from members in the disaster-affected countries to be made available on a rights-free basis to those members who have contributed programmes under this exchange project.

Interested parties are encouraged to fill in the form below and send it to sakitsu.h AT

For more information contact: Haruo Sakitsu Director Programme Department ABU Tel: +60 3 2282 2840 Fax: +60 3 2282 4606 Email: sakitsu.h AT

Commonwealth Broadcasting Association

The Commonwealth Broadcasting Association has offered to help broadcasting organisations in Tsunami-affected countries in the Commonwealth with grants from its disaster fund.

It is helping Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation and Voice of Maldives with acquiring new recording equipment, while for Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation the grant would go towards replacing a television camera and vehicle damaged in the disaster.The equipment was damaged when SBC's TV Engineering crew had to abandon the vehicle they were travelling in when it was suddenly engulfed by water on a coastal road, and a television camera fell into the seawater.

The CBA ( is also keeping in touch with broadcasters in other tsunami-affected countries to assess damages.

European Broadcasting Union

The EBU ( is currently directing offers of equipment and training assistance to its colleagues at the Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union in KL, Malaysia (see above).

Journalists & Trauma

Coverage of disaster tests the physical and emotional strength of reporters on the scene. BBC correspondent Jonathan Charles e-mailed Mark Brayne, the European director for the Dart Centre, which specializes in journalism and trauma, about the long, grueling days involved in covering people affected by the tsunami. After spending a day following a 28-year-old mother in search of her children, he wonders what he should say to her.

"…(S)he was clinging to the belief her children would be fine. It's clear from what I've seen that her optimism is unlikely to be realistic," he writes. "… It's that knowledge which makes it hard to cover this story."

Charles, who was responding to Brayne's e-mail about how journalists are coping as they cover areas hit hard by the tsunami, noted how weary journalists could become.

Disasters draw upon all the skill and stamina journalists can muster. Those on the ground, and those back in the newsroom, can find themselves over-exposed to unrelenting scenes of destruction and despair. Often, they work without a break for long stretches of time.

After awhile, this emotionally charged and draining experience can affect both journalists and their coverage. In response to an email I sent to Brayne, he noted that "the most important support comes from peers who know what traumatic distress looks like and does." He said that journalists need to check in on those who have experienced traumatic events after a month or so. Read this article in full at

Related articles at the Poynter website for journalism.

There are a solid set of resources and documents up on the Dart centre website, via the home page at , much of it put together by Dart Centre Australia colleagues.

Dart Centre Contact:

Mark Brayne,
Director Europe,
Dart Centre for Journalism and Trauma, 
email: mark.brayne AT

Tsunami Scams

National Geographic Call for Tsunami Footage

National Geographic Society’s Television Film Library is seeking contributions of tsunami footage from interested individual producers and is looking to represent or purchase the footage outright.

The footage will be used by National Geographic for the worldwide broadcast of its award-winning productions and programming, and National Geographic’s international broadcast syndication.

In addition, National Geographic Society is also seeking to generate a list of tsunami material held by ABU members and is putting forward a request to ABU members to provide either catalogue files or general information lists (amount of footage, synopsis descriptions) along with rate cards, and a list of any amateur footage they hold in their collection.

The compilation of the list is to enable its research department in building a library of tsunami footage and to better supply content for future tsunami-related projects.

National Geographic has recently informed the ABU of its intention to seek membership in the ABU.

For more information or to make a submission, please contact:

Sandy Haller
Tel: +202 828 6642, Washington DC
Leslie Walsh
Tel: +202 775 6722, Washington DC

Alternatively, please contact the ABU Secretariat for additional information:

Craig Hobbs
Tel: +60 3 2282 4205, Malaysia
Anom Sani
Tel: +60 3 2282 2480, Malaysia

About National Geographic Television & Film

Building on its global reputation for remarkable visuals and compelling stories, National Geographic Television & Film augments its award-winning documentary productions (119 Emmy Awards and more than 800 other industry awards) with feature films, large-format films and long-form television drama programming. Worldwide, National Geographic’s television programming can be seen on the National Geographic Channel, MSNBC, and PBS, home video and DVD, and through international broadcast syndication. For more information about National Geographic Television & Film, log on to, AOL Keyword: NatGeo.

National Geographic’s Film Library functions as an archive and repository for all NGT&F-produced film and videotape material. The Library catalogues and sells stock footage from NGT&F’s Specials, EXPLORER series, educational films, and other National Geographic Channel and NGT&F productions. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Film Library supplies material to a regional sales office in London and representatives across the globe. Its fully catalogued database, available online at, allows clients to search footage based on subject, location or production criteria.

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