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More climate-focussed journalism needed

Adib Noor

More journalism on climate matters is needed as it remains a niche sector in the overall market, said experts in an online panel.

The panel, which discussed climate change, humanitarian action and the need for climate journalism, was organised by the Wee Kim Wee School of Communications and Information, Nanyang Technological University and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Regional Delegation for Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei.

Head of the ICRC regional delegation Bijana Milosevic said major and urgent political efforts to limit environmental degradation and mitigate climate change are critical to avert the most disastrous consequences on people and their environment.

“Climate journalism plays a crucial part to inform and allows us to mitigate the effects of the climate crisis and focus attention on much needed goals,” she said.

Invited panelist included Director of Nanyang Technological University and Earth Observatory of Singapore Professor Benjamin Horton; Senior Content Creator of Earth Journalism Network Indonesia Florence Armein; United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Humanitarian Affairs Officer Dr Kristie ‘Kit’ Barrow; Regional Coordinator of UNEP, Mozaharul Alam; and Economic Security Coordinator ICRC in the Democratic Republic of Congo Bah Ibrahima.

The panellists discussed long-term effects of climate change, such as flooding and droughts, which could cause societal issues including poverty and migration.

The panellists said while it is important to educate and inform the public on the urgency of the matter, some challenges that needed to be overcome include simplifying the subject to be easily understandable and pushing the matter as a newsworthy subject to be covered by media companies as climate journalism remains a niche sector.

“We also need to change how we touch on the subject and stop ourselves from saying environmental crisis in the future tense; it is a current content and not a concert in the future,” said Dr Barrow.

A panel of experts discuss climate change, humanitarian action and climate journalism. PHOTO: ADIB NOOR