THE ROLE OF MEDIA IN ADDRESSING CLIMATE CHANGE RESILIENCE
On January 17-20th 2022, 60 journalists representing various media houses from different regions of Rwanda met in Gicumbi district at hotel Urumuli for a workshop to learn and discuss how to best practice, report and cover environment stories with the theme of ‘Empowering media in advancing knowledge transfer on Green Growth and climate resilience.’
During three days of intense learning, journalists had the opportunity to awareness of the fundamental role of media in implementing the provisions of the Framework law and international protocols on climate change which were assigned in different conferences as Dr Boaz Kagabika, a university lecturer and environmental expert explained to trainees.
This is confirmed by the situation where GGGI in partnership with GG Project and RMC in a training on climate change and environment issues.
GG Project is one of the best practices with integrated interventions.
Behavior change is highly relevant for climate change resilience. It involves media practitioners and media houses.
Thanks to GGGI and GG, Rwanda Media Fraternity benefited in a training covering the following topics: concepts of climate change, global and national commitments on climate change, Rwandan achievements towards climate change and report environment content.
This workshop was developed as part of a much wider participatory process to establish the regulations under the Framework Law on Climate Change.
In 2003, the Government of Rwanda passed the Framework Law on Climate Change, and to draw up its regulations, which put the law into practice. The Ministry of the Environment opted for a participatory process where various actors from civil society, the public and private sectors, academia and NGOs can help to establish the regulations. Communicators and journalists are therefore key actors in this process.
“We recognize that if climate change messages do not target communicators too, they will not spread widely enough, because there is a lot of technical terminology and information that needs to be explained, and because above all we need to learn, as communicators, how to talk about climate change.” Dr Boaz added.
The journalists got the ability as communicators to handle themes relating to climate change adaptation.
One of the conclusions from the workshop is that this challenge exists and we need to work on it.
What we have been doing to tone down these kind of stories in REJ(Rwanda environment Journalists), but few of us had little knowledge about scientific terms.
First, we use numbers because people are always interested in the economy. It is important to quote numbers on climate change. To what extent will we be affected? How much can we gain? This approach will help to prevent climate change being seen as a distant, technical or highly theoretical topic.
For example, saying that if we implement our National Adaptation Plan and adaptation measures that fall under the Nationally Determination.
Another example is saying that our country will have to reduce its agricultural productivity output by 80% due to the impact of climate change, which would affect the availability of food supplies.
Second, messages have to be transmitted in a more approachable way, in addition to press releases, videos and photos, which are important.
We can also use tools such as marketing or social awareness campaigns, dialogue in social spaces, believe that these details are being developed and it is one of the greatest challenges we face.
Twahirwa Umumarashavu Janat