The study, Skyful of Lies and Black Swans, published by the University of Oxford, finds that new technologies, such as social media, routinely catch these institutions off-guard in moments of crisis.
Gowing writes: ‘Even in the most remote and hostile location, hundreds of millions of electronic eyes and ears are creating a capacity for scrutiny and new demands for accountability. It is way beyond the assumed power and influence of the traditional media.'
Gowing explains how unlike powerful insitutions, information such as civilian videos can provide real-time insight into crisis situations.
He suggests that in order to maintain credibility during a crisis institutions need to assert themselves as quickly as the media.