15.05.2017 - UNESCO Office in Jakarta

UNESCO helps build climate change reporting capacities of journalists

13 May- Kuala Lumpur. Journalists, journalism educators, and civil societies gathered in the capital city to discuss and explore the issue of reporting on climate change and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) from 13 to 14 May.

The two-day workshop, “Telling the Story of Global Change”, was jointly organized by UNESCO, the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus, and Universiti Sains Malaysia with the aim to improve journalistic reportage on the issues including the development of a new journalism curricula. Participants from different universities, civil society groups, and media outlets explored various aspects of climate change including:

  • What climate change means for agriculture and food security; 
  • How climate change can affect human health;
  • What is climate change going to cost;
  • What is the relationship between climate change and migration;
  • How to mainstream gender in climate change discussion.

 “Climate change is not going away anytime soon and how journalists report on the issues will have an impact in our understanding of the matter” said Dr Ming-Kuok Lim, Advisor for Communication and Information for the UNESCO Office in Jakarta in his opening remarks.

“There is a need for journalists to question themselves [to be critical in reporting on climate change] especially since journalists are at the forefront of delivering information to the public” said Professor Zaharom Nain, who is also the Director of the Center for the Study of Communications and Culture, University of Nottingham Malaysia.

Award-winning journalist, Ms Gan Pei Ling, from The Star newspaper who has been reporting on the issue since 2009 underlined the importance of making the global phenomenon interesting for local audiences from local fishermen to indigenous community.

The workshop was based in parts on two of UNESCO’s publication including the Climate Change in Africa: A Guidebook for Journalists and the Teaching Journalism for Sustainable Development. It is also the first time that such initiative is being jointly organized by an UN agency with both private and public higher education institutions.

Other speakers included Associate Professor Dr Joanne Lim (Head of School of Modern Languages and Cultures, University of Nottingham Malaysia), Associate Professor Wang Lay Kim and Associate Professor Dr Ngo Sheau Shi from Universiti Sains Malaysia, Ms Wan Izar Haizan (Principal Assistant Secretary for Environmental Management and Climate Change, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment), Ms Cynthia Gabriel (Executive Director for C4), Associate Professor Yusri Yusup (Environmental scientist, School of Industrial Technology, USM), and Ms Sunitha Bisan (Independent consultant on gender and sustainability).

The workshop is part of a series of initiatives led by UNESCO to improve reporting on climate change in Asia Pacific. It has been made possible with the support from the Government of Malaysia through the Malaysia-UNESCO Cooperation Programme (MUCP).

The next workshop will take place in Universiti Sains Malaysia (Penang) in July 2017 and the regional symposium will take place in Kuala Lumpur later in 2017.

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