Training Bangladeshi Journalists to Report on Climate Change
A five-day national workshop was held in Bangladesh from 29 June to 3 July 2013, to train 20 journalists from the print, broadcast and electronic media to report more competently on issues related to climate change (CC).
The event was a part of UNESCO New Delhi’s inter-sectoral project ‘Combating Climate Change in South Asia: Media Interventions for Public Awareness and Action’. The workshop, implemented by News Network Bangladesh, combined the acquisition of knowledge about CC with the development of practical skills on reporting CC. The central theme of the training programme was the impact of CC on the Hindu Kush Himalayan ecosystem as it affects Bangladesh.
The event began with a keynote address titled ‘The Hindu Kush Himalayas and the Bengal Basin: The Highland–Lowland Link’, delivered by Prof. D.K. Datta of the Department of Environmental Sciences at Khulna University. The opening session – an overview of CC and its impact, global warming and environmental governance – was conducted by Hossain Shahriar, the eminent Bangladeshi ecologist. Subsequent sessions dealt with the effect of CC in Bangladesh (including the specific challenges posed to certain sectors and services; CC’s effect on the Hindu Kush Himalayan region; community-based mitigation and adaptation measures; the Government’s policy initiatives and inter-governmental cooperation to control the effects of CC).
An investigation of the media’s role in reporting CC in Bangladesh served as an introduction to the professional skill development sessions that formed the core of the workshop. Veteran Bangladeshi journalists provided practical training on the development of story angles, research, information gathering and analysis, and writing and production skills. Journalists were also taken on a field to visit to cyclone-affected coastal villages where they witnessed first-hand the devastation caused to infrastructure, embankments, property, crops and fish farms.
The 20 journalists emerged from the workshop with increased confidence in developing stories on CC’s impacts on people in affected areas, and people’s responses to CC. Following the workshop, participants were expected to produce and publish at least two stories on issues relating to pre-selected themes. These stories have already begun to appear in Bangladeshi newspapers and on news channels. It is expected that as a result of increased media coverage, there will be a growth in public awareness of the linkages between environmental issues, social problems, and the wider economy. Finally, local media networks will be strengthened and media relations in the region (on CC-related reporting and coverage) will improve.
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