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Establishing a Media Observatory for Strengthening the Civil Protection in the Central and Southeastern Mediterranean Basin (MEDIA-TERRA)
Start date: May 31, 2006, End date: Mar 30, 2008 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The project MEDIA-TERRA aims at determining categories / dimensions of natural disasters in Central and Southeast Mediterranean (CSEM), recording prevention and treatment practices of currently used Civil Protection Systems (CPS), bringing out weak/ strong points in citizens active participation, determining capacities - building strategies – producing material for Media in raising awareness and activating citizens, testing (pilot) / evaluating Media intervention strategies, and ending with the establishment and pilot operation of a Media Observatory (MO) to strengthen CPS in CSEM. CSEM constitutes one of the most vulnerable to natural disasters areas of the Euro-Mediterranean. Expressed as earthquakes, fires & floods, subsidence of subsoil water surface & soil desertification, they constitute dangers for ecosystems balance, residents safety and life quality. Modern societies organization in civil protection, in a sense that these phenomena are considered urgent and rare, thus their treatment can be assigned to special mechanisms activated during exaltation, has revealed its limits and brought out need for change of treatment. Lack of everyday prevention measures by citizens and their surprise at exaltation, do not deprive societies of substantial protection, but enforce consequences through limiting, if not preventing, operation & effectiveness of saving mechanisms. Thus, protection systems alteration from a suppression approach to one that differentiates societys organization, aiming at prevention of natural disasters and securing promptitude of treating exaltation, is necessary. Considering citizens participation as a prerequisite, 2 parameters must be secured: awareness raising & education. These require means referring to communications. However, this condition can be fulfilled only by the Media. Thus, their role in the new approach is obvious, especially in CSEM where CPS and societies have lots to learn in fields like organization, effectiveness, collectivity & volunteerism. Scope of the Project is to investigate and experiment the exploitation of the Media as a basic pillar of a new approach for CPS of CSEM countries that will depend on active participation of citizens, for prevention and treatment of natural disasters. Partners will, at first, work in common to identify categories & dimensions of natural disasters in CSEM. Research results will be synthesized for the area. A data base and a dynamic GIS application will be produced. At 2nd stage, partners will record and bring out current civil protection practices & systems to promote active citizen participation in CSEM. Research results will be synthesized, data bases of civil protection organizations and good/ bad practices in citizen involvement will be designed, 2 conferences organized. At 3rd stage, potential of the Media to intervene in awareness raising and activating citizens will be determined. Studies will be conducted and synthesized, operational and communication strategy for Media will be designed, consultations with Media will take place, communication & training material produced, smart electronic information software will be developed, an ex-ante evaluation of the communication strategys implementation produced. At 4th stage, the MO will be developed and operated, results of communication strategys implementation will be recorded and assessed. At 5th stage, the Project, and its results, will be disseminated during implementation.
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