UNESCO Trains Media Professionals in Climate Change Reporting

20 November 2012. The reality and challenges that the world faces with regards to the negative impacts of climate change have been increasing and harsh. In order to contribute to inform and educate ordinary people on how to behave responsibly towards this major environmental issue, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)’s Tehran Office and the Iranian Association for Studies on the Information Society (IRASIS), with support from the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) held a Climate Change Reporting Workshop for media professionals, on 5-6 November 2012, in Tehran, Iran.  

The workshop was attended by 18 participants. It aimed to strengthen the professional capacity of journalists to produce greater quality and volume of reporting on climate change, to raise levels of public awareness and debate, and to create more opportunities for journalists to build networks. It was also designed to teach journalists to include human interest aspects in news items and analysis related to climate change. Reporting would then engage the public and thus create more awareness of climate change issues, thereby enabling society to face and address environmental challenges.

The first day of the workshop featured two instructors, Professor Yousef Sobouti from the Academy of Sciences of Iran, and Dr. Ebrahim Abadi from IRASIS. In his presentation, Professor Sobouti gave a comprehensive explanation of various important aspects of climate change, from its early history to some practical steps that should be taken by the media, including producing educative reporting on how to deal with waste management. Dr. Ebrahim Abadi suggested that the media should target individuals, not only governments, in climate change campaigns, since change happens at the individual level.

On the workshop’s second day, Hamshahrionline’s editor-in-chief, Dr. Younes Shokrkhah, and information and communication technology (ICT) expert Dr. Davood Zareian gave presentations. Dr. Shokrkhah explained the need to package information according to the target group of each media, while Dr. Zareian spoke of the role of ICTs in reducing the impact of climate change.

The event marked the kick-off of a series of workshops in two other major Iranian cities: Mashhad, on 12-13 November and Shiraz, on 19-20 November. This workshop series is supported by the IPDC. The IPDC is a multilateral forum in the UN system designed to mobilize the international community to discuss and promote media development in more than 140 developing countries. The Programme not only provides support for media projects but also seeks an accord to secure a healthy environment for the growth of free and pluralistic media in developing countries.

For further information please contact Arya Gunawan Usis (a.gunawan@unesco.org) or visit: http://www.unesco.org/new/en/media-services/single-view/news/media_professionals_trained_in_climate_change_reporting_in_tehran/