13.11.2012 - Communication & Information Sector

Media professionals trained in climate change reporting in Tehran

Dr Shokrkhah giving his presentation at the workshop in Mashad - © UNESCO/Arya Gunawan Usis

The reality and challenges that the world faces with regards to the negative impacts of climate change have been increasing and harsh. The media should contribute to reduce these impacts through their role in ensuring better informed citizens with their reportings.

“We, media professionals and media organizations, have the power to change course, from very basic things, such as educating ordinary people on how to behave responsibly toward our environment, to more sophisticated means by ensuring that there is the political will from our leaders at every level,” said Ms Tarja Virtanen, Director of UNESCO’s Tehran Office, at the opening of a workshop on climate change reporting held last week in Tehran.

The workshop, held 5-6 November and attended by 18 participants, was organized by UNESCO’s Tehran Office and the Iranian Association for Studies on the Information Society (IRASIS), with support from the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC). The event also marked the kick-off of a series of workshops, which will be held in two other major Iranian cities, Mashhad and Shiraz.

The workshops aim to strengthen the professional capacity of journalists to produce greater quality and volume of reporting on climate change, to raise levels of public awareness and debate, and to create more opportunities for journalists to build networks. They are also designed to teach journalists to include human interest aspects innews items and analysis related to climate change.Reportingwould then engage the public and thus create more awareness of climate change issues, thereby enablingsociety to face and address environmentalchallenges.

Dr Mehdi Mohsenian Rad, who represented IRASIS during the opening session, expressed his appreciation for UNESCO’s efforts in organizing the workshop, noting that the need for such a workshop had beenlong overdue.

The first day of the workshop featured two instructors, Professor Yousef Sobouti from the Academy of Sciences of Iran, who has been actively involved in promoting the need to address challenges brought about by climate change, and Dr Ebrahim Abadi from IRASIS. 

In his presentation, Professor Soboutigave a comprehensive explanation ofvarious important aspects of climate change, from its early history to some practical steps that should be takenby the media, including producing educative reporting on how to deal with waste management. He also believes that media could change people’s mindsets to behave more responsibly in their everyday life to contribute to reducing the impact of climate change.

Dr Ebrahim Abadisuggested that the media should target individuals, not only governments, in climate change campaigns, since change happens at the individual level.

On the workshop’s second day, Hamshahrionline’s editor-in-chief, Dr Younes Shokrkhah, and information and communication technology (ICT) expert Dr Davood Zareian gave presentations. Dr Shokrkhah explained the need to package information according to the target group of each media, while Dr Zareian spoke of the role of ICTs in reducing the impact of climate change.

Following last week’s workshop, a second training is now taking place in Mashad 12-13 November with about 20 participating journalists. The next and final workshop in the series will be organized in Shiraz 19-20 November.

This workshop series is supported by the IPDC. The IPDC is the only multilateral forum in the UN system designed to mobilize the international community to discuss and promote media development in more than 140 developing countries. The Programme not only provides support for media projects but also seeks an accord to secure a healthy environment for the growth of free and pluralistic media in developing countries.




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