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Interactive Governmental Communication Promoting Participatory Citizen Engagement in Health Crisis Events - Evidence from India

Parul Gupta and Anupama Prashar
PAQ, Vol. 47 No. 1, 51-86 (2023)

During crises events, governments attempt to diminish the situational uncertainty and distrust among citizens and control their emotional response. Drawing on the merits of interactive communication in the crisis times and potential of social media platforms, we empirically investigated how Government of India (GoI) used Twitter to enable participatory citizen engagement during the nationwide lockdown (March 24 – May 31, 2020) to deal with COVID-19. In this study we used social media analytics to examine, how interactive governmental communication relates to some theoretically relevant factors such as participatory citizens’ engagement, media richness, situational uncertainty, level of distrust and citizens’ emotions fostered by pandemic crisis. The analysis based on data extracted from official Twitter handles of GoI for the lockdown period showed that the participatory citizen engagement in interactive governmental communication effectively promotes citizens’ positive emotions and reduces levels of situational uncertainty and distrust. But media richness should not be overemphasized, as it may attract undesirable outcomes.

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