26.07.2017 - UNESCO Office in Jakarta

Bridging the Gaps in Communicating Climate Change

The need to bridge the gaps in communicating the issue of climate change and sustainable development between different groups were highlighted as one of the most important challenges in reporting on the issues in a workshop “Telling the Story of Global Change” in Penang, Malaysia from 20-21 July.

Participants from academia, civil society, government agencies, and the media gathered at the School of Communications of Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) to discuss about how to improve journalistic reporting on climate change and sustainable development. The event was jointly organized by USM, the Nottingham University in Malaysia and UNESCO Office in Jakarta.

The two-day workshop was designed to provide input to a new journalism curriculum that can report on climate change and sustainable development in a holistic manner. Several challenges were identified as obstacles that must be addressed. These included the lack of capacity of journalists to report on national and international environmental policies, the lack of communication and sharing of information between different stakeholders including government agencies, media organizations, and civil societies and the need to be more effective in conveying the message to the general public. The proposed curriculum aims to tackle these challenges with the objective of training journalists that could effectively report on climate change and sustainable development issues.

Professor Shuhaida Md. Noor, Dean of the School of Communication (USM) welcomed the 50 participants to the workshop in the morning. Dr. Ming-Kuok Lim, the Advisor for Communication and Information of the UNESCO Office in Jakarta delivered the opening remark in the event while Professor Zaharom Nain from Nottingham University in Malaysia gave a keynote lecture on the topic.

The workshop started with a panel of distinguished speakers from people involved in different aspects of climate change and sustainable development. The speakers included Professor Gurdial Singh Nijar, who was the lead negotiator for Malaysia for the Paris Agreement, Dato’ Renji Sathiah who was the Malaysian negotiator for the Kyoto Protocol, Professor Mahamad Hakimi Ibrahim from the School of Industrial Technology, Ms. Hillary Chew from the NGO Third World Network and Ms. Jasmin Irisha Jim Ilham who is a Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) Alumni on Environmental Issues. The session was moderated by Mr. Anil Netto, prominent columnist and write in the country.

The workshop is the second in the country as part of the programme to strengthen media capacity to monitor and report on climate change in Asia Pacific supported by the Malaysia-UNESCO Cooperation Programme (MUCP). The previous workshop took place in Kuala Lumpur in May 2017. Similar events are taking place in Thailand and Samoa.

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