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The L’Aquila earthquake case is not “science on trial”: it is a challenge to the way public officials communicate risk

By Julien Etienne and Tommaso Palermo


Last week six scientists and a former government official were sentenced to imprisonment for their reassurances about safety prior to the 2009 earthquake in L’Aquila which killed over 300 people. While many commentators have expressed deep concern that this is a case of ‘science on trial’, Julien Etienne and Tommaso Palermo contend that the trial is one of public communication. They argue that in countries such as Italy, officials have sometimes downplayed natural or technological risks to reassure the public, at little cost to themselves if they happened to be wrong. The L’Aquila trial and verdict may be a sign that this is now changing

Topics: JN Political institutions (Europe)
Publisher: Blog post from London School of Economics & Political Science
Year: 2012
OAI identifier:
Provided by: LSE Research Online

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