Communicating mega-projects in the face of uncertainties: Israeli mass media treatment of the Dead Sea Water Canal

Itay Fischhendler, Galit Cohen-Blankshtain, Yoav Shuali, Max Boykoff

Given the potential for uncertainties to influence mega-projects, this study examines how mega-projects are deliberated in the public arena. The paper traces the strategies used to promote the Dead Sea Water Canal. Findings show that the Dead Sea mega-project was encumbered by ample uncertainties. Treatment of uncertainties in early coverage was dominated by economics and raised primarily by politicians, while more contemporary media discourses have been dominated by ecological uncertainties voiced by environmental non-governmental organizations. This change in uncertainty type is explained by the changing nature of the project and by shifts in societal values over time. The study also reveals that ‘uncertainty reduction’ and to a lesser degree, ‘project cancellation’, are still the strategies most often used to address uncertainties. Statistical analysis indicates that although uncertainties and strategies are significantly correlated, there may be other intervening variables that affect this correlation. This research also therefore contributes to wider and ongoing considerations of uncertainty in the public arena through various media representational practices.



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