Why the media matters in the warming world
TEBOHO KHATEBE MOLEFI
MOHALE’S HOEK – News editors from across the breadth of both print and electronic media this week begin a two-day intensive training by the World Food Programme (WFP) to create a platform to share ideas, knowledge, and experiences on improvement of climate change issues mainstreaming in media programmes.
The training is also planned to inspire editors to prioritize the subject of climate change in their news agenda, gather views and opinions of news editors as gatekeepers in news production.
Further, on how best the media sector should be reformed to be a reliable source of climate change and an icon for social change.
The training is under the WFP-supported project ‘Improving adaptive capacity of vulnerable and food-insecure populations in Lesotho (IACOV)’ beginning Monday March 22 to 23.
Officially opening the training energy minister, Mohapinyane Mohapinyane, noted the key role that editors play in information dissemination, appealing to them to promote positive behavior changes carried in their news articles and both radio television programmes.
The minister also noted the important role journalists should play in giving out climate change-related warnings and complex topics, while playing the role of watchdogs.
“Journalist are expected to also struggle for positive reportage and help address challenges faced in relation to climate change,” he continued.
Mohapinyane went further to point out that Lesotho not immune to climate change impact “as evidenced by recent events which attest to this reality.”
He said government too realizes the need to strengthen systems for support of vulnerable groups, and that this could only be attained through the support of the media hinged of the reasons “why the media matters in the warming world.”
In her virtual keynote address WFP Country Director, Aurore Rusiga, reaffirmed close collaboration with the government and the media towards realization of global Sustainable Development Goals.
She reiterated the reality that Lesotho is not immune to climate change, citing recent episodes of drought and torrential rains that she said affected agriculture negatively.
“IACOV aims to address some of these challenges, and project objectives aligned with WFP programmes; and this is done in collaboration with the Lesotho Meteorological Services (LMS) and the Ministry of Forestry. It provides oversight processes, monitoring and evaluation,” she continued.
The country director also noted journalists as key partners in information dissemination of matters relating to climate change, appealing to media to be responsible partners in sharing information related by providing a platform for climate change dialogue.
“This is very important in order that we preserve our county and other nature reserves, the media must help Basotho understand and adapt to climate change,” she added.
IACOV is a four-year project executed by the LMS and the Ministry of Forestry, while the WFP operates as the implementing entity.
The project is intended to address the barriers of climate change adaptation by strengthening capacity of the government on early warning while ensuring optimal knowledge and utilization of climate information tailored to company needs. Also communities will be empowered to plan and implement appropriate resilience building that will transform lives and diversify livelihoods.
Present at the official opening of the training was the Mohale’s Hoek District Administrator Bahlakoana Tšolo, and project coordinators.
Participants have been drawn from both government and private print and electronic media houses.