“The debate that is commencing is an important one; it deserves to be conducted in a healthy fashion. Reliable information is vital. It was reassuring to see that, at the height of the emergency, the Police understood the importance of effective crisis communication, using Twitter and Facebook to give timely updates. Let’s not underestimate how challenging that must have been – they had their hands full trying to deliver a decisive yet measured response (evident from the fact that they sustained more casualties than the rioters). The effort paid off. The information the Police provided ensured that unfounded rumours did not take root for long enough to do any damage.
Equally positive was the role played by many netizens to urge calm, and to blow the offside whistle against irresponsible and tasteless speech.
In the weeks that follow, one hopes that this commitment to transparent and responsible communication is maintained both by official sources and ordinary citizens. It cannot be anything other than a controversial and heated debate. Already, the cheap point-scoring has commenced, linking the riot to various pet peeves. Differences in viewpoints are inevitable and necessary; but whether they end up being divisive is up to us.”
— excerpt from academic Cherian George’s commentary in his website, www.airconditionednation.com