Asia-Pacific media must ‘empower people’ on climate action, says PMC

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Apriline Widani of the Centre for Southeast Asia Social Studies (CESASS) at the Universitas Gadjah Mada talks to the Pacific Media Centre director Professor David Robie about climate change, the media and the Bearing Witness project in Fiji. Video: CESASS

Pacific Media Watch Newsdesk

News media need to empower people over climate change and to encourage them to take action in their communities and press governments to do more, says a New Zealand environmental journalist and advocate.

Professor David Robie, director of the Pacific Media Centre at Auckland University of Technology, told researchers at a recent seminar at Indonesia’s Universitas Gadjah Mada in Yogyakarta that journalists in the Asia-Pacific region needed to step up to the mark.

“We are rapidly running out of time,” he said in an interview with UGM’s Centre for Southeast Asia Social Studies (CESASS).

“The news media itself is not terribly good when it comes to long term planning, and long-term issues. It tends to respond to immediate issues and consequences. It lacks the attention span for longer term challenges.”

Climate change was not just a simple “news round” but an issue of planetary survival.

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There were examples in some countries of where the media was working quite well to empower people.

“The micro states in the Pacific have taken a lead in this way.”

He spoke about the achievements in the Pacific – especially Fiji leading up to COP23 in Bonn – and also about the PMC’s award-winning Bearing Witness climate journalism project in partnership with the University of the South Pacific.

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