The Preparedness of Local Authorities for Crisis Communication with People who have Foreign Backgrounds – The Case of Sweden

August 2007 (VOL. 25, NO. 2)

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One of the most important aspects of crisis communication is that of reaching the target population in a severe and often chaotic situation. Therefore, crisis communication has to be customized not only to the situation but also to the population. The aim of this study is hence to investigate the preparedness of Swedish municipalities to communicate with people who have foreign backgrounds at times of crisis. A sample of 55% (n=160) of all Swedish municipalities were questioned regarding whether their crisis communication plans are adapted to this population segment and whether any preparedness measures have been taken. The results show that Swedish municipalities do not consider people with foreign backgrounds in their crisis communication to any great extent. However, the studied municipalities can be categorized as Active, Intermediary or Passive, and one important difference between the three groups is whether they have previous experience of crises where people with foreign backgrounds have been involved.