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Asia-Pacific media must empower people to take climate action

David Robie
Prof David Robie

NEWSDESK | Pacific Media Watch

AUCKLAND - News media need to empower people over climate change and to encourage them to take action in their communities and press governments to do more, says Professor David Robie, a New Zealand environmental journalist and advocate.

Professor Robie, director of the Pacific Media Centre at Auckland University of Technology, told researchers at a recent seminar at Indonesia’s Universitas Gadjah Mada in Yogyakarta that journalists in the Asia-Pacific region needed to step up to the mark.

“We are rapidly running out of time,” he said in an interview with the Indonesian university’s Centre for Southeast Asia Social Studies.

“The news media itself is not terribly good when it comes to long term planning, and long-term issues. It tends to respond to immediate issues and consequences. It lacks the attention span for longer term challenges.”

Climate change was not just a simple ‘news round’ but an issue of planetary survival.

There were examples in some countries of where the media was working quite well to empower people.

“The micro states in the Pacific have taken a lead in this way,” Professor Robie said.

He spoke about achievements in the Pacific – especially Fiji leading up to COP23 in Bonn – and also about Pacific Media Centre’s award-winning Bearing Witness climate journalism project in partnership with the University of the South Pacific.

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