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African Journalists Combat Climate Change

Nigeria
Cameroon Tribune
07/12/2010

The declaration was made in Nairobi during a two-day workshop on improving public awareness on the phenomenon.

Media men and women from 20 African countries have worked out an innovative strategy and a practical approach of using the pen and microphone to halt the triggers of climate change. Meeting in Nairobi, Kenya from November 29 to 30, journalists of the print and audio visual media declared their determination to succeed where policy makers and other actors in climate change issues have failed.

The approach which consists in overhauling skills of reporting and tailoring actions to suit the new dispensation in climate change is expected to raise public awareness on the dangers of the phenomenon especially in Africa. The whole issue is built on the premise that the brunt of climate change is highly felt by the poor. Being an essentially a commodity producing continent which highly depends on agriculture, Africa stands to be the greatest loser. And this is quite disturbing in the sense that the continent is not responsible for the malaise. Yet, those who have caused the damage want one of the greatest sacrifices to come from the "black" continent.

Press men and women who met in Nairobi felt that one of the greatest threats in the whole gamut of climate change is the absence of information that can influence decisions and reshape actions. The sad observation is that readers, including those already living the effects of climate change, tend to build their reading interest on issues that have nothing to do with what is really threatening their livelihood. The question raised in Nairobi was whether it is the "scissors that is blunt or the barber that does not know how to shave"? In other words, is it the news makers or information disseminators that lack the skills or it is really the topic that is uninteresting?

Media people and scientists who were present at the workshop all agreed that climate change though an important human issue, is yet to attract readership and audiovisual audiences. But that this can be possible if those who bring news to the people adopt new attractive communication skills. Organised by the Japanese government in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) within the framework of the Africa Adaptation Programme (AAP), the Nairobi confab was, in essence, the launching of a climate change awareness project. The project which is a component of AAP is targeting the key role that African media can play in effectively and accurately investigating, interpreting and reporting on climate change issues and events so as to positively influence African public opinion about the immediate challenges therein. The whole thing has to do with making news out of the environment and dealing with climate change "denialists."

The package of embryonic ideas calved out by both media men and seasoned scientists to launch the project hinged on the need for an overall communication strategy on environment in general and climate change in particular, need for training and capacity building, training of photo journalists on climate change, need to specialise media organs, and creation of radio listening clubs as an important feedback-generating aspect among.

El contenido de las noticias que se presentan en esta sección es responsabilidad directa de las agencias emisoras de noticias y no necesariamente reflejan la posición del Gobierno de México en este u otros temas relacionados.

    

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