Reporting on climate change has always been a huge and challenging task for many African journalists, due to the complexity of the issue and the lack of knowledge and skills, and adequate research and investigation.
It is so challenging to such an extent that even experienced environmental reporters and editors continue to excel in producing mediocre and pathetic work day in and day out.
UNESCO has understood all of this, and has now given the African media a lifeline, hence the publication of Climate change in Africa: a guidebook for journalists.
UNESCO said this book will respond to a very real need in African journalists’ reporting of the complex phenomenon of climate change.
The authors of this guide represent the organisations that have trained hundreds of journalists around the world to report more effectively on climate change, the UN education, science and culture agency said in its website.
“They consulted 44 journalists from 17 African countries and 38 climate-change specialists, who provided their insights into what was missing from African media coverage and how this book should help to fill those gaps.
“Climate change poses a clear danger to lives and livelihoods across Africa,” the Paris-headquartered institution said.
“Journalists there have critical roles to play in explaining the cause and effects of climate change, in describing what countries and communities can do to adapt to the impacts ahead, and in reporting on what governments and companies do, or do not do, to respond to these threats.”
The impact of climate change in Africa, which many experts believe is the result of world economic powers’ drive to make money at all costs, includes flooding, unusual warm temperatures, food insecurity, loss of biodiversity and water scarcity, among others.
Yet, research on public understanding of climate change and surveys of journalists reveal that across Africa the media can and should do more to tell the story of climate change, UNESCO said, adding that it has produced this book to help fill this important gap.
For more information, email Fackson Banda, of the UNESCO communication and information sector, at [email protected].
Photo: Flooding in Africa. Credit: Beahrselp.berkeley.edu