A three-day media workshop on climate change reporting kicked off at Hotel Imphal on Saturday. The workshop is being organized by the Indian Himalayas Climate Adaptation Programme (IHCAP) of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) in association with Department of Science and Technology, government of India and the Centre for Media Studies (CMS).
The workshop aims to promote accurate reporting of climate change science and adaptation measures in the Indian Himalayas and on the occasion, IHCAP announced a series of media engagement workshops in the northeast region of the country.
Senior thematic experts, scientists and policymakers are participating in these series of workshops and interacting with journalists from different media outlets in the Himalayan states.
Manipur Governor Dr Najma Heptulla who attended the inaugural function of the workshop emphasized the role of media in spreading awareness about impacts of climate change and the need for adaptation in the northeastern region.
She said, “While scientists have been working on different aspects of climate change and state governments are preparing plans for adaptation, media has a powerful role in generating awareness and motivating communities at the local level.”
Expressing concern over ever deteriorating condition of Loktak lake, Dr Heptulla assured that she would insist Manipur government to chalk out an action oriented programme to save the only biggest fresh water lake in the northeast region.
The Governor further urged the media persons, both in print and electronic, to focus more on impact on climate change on remote, vulnerable communities.
“They (media) should also highlight case studies of success at local level which do not find much space or not adequately covered,” she added.
State forest and environment minister I Hemochnadra who presided over the inaugural function said that Manipur is taking a lead in the country to meet the challenge of climate change.
Manipur is among the few states in the country to have formulated action plan on climate change and to have initiated action to implement the same, he added.
Dr Shirish Sinha, deputy director of SDC observed that the Indian Himalayan region is one of the most vulnerable mountain systems in the world. If effective measures were taken timely, experts believed it may be possible to prevent further degradation of the ecosystem, he added.
“Through this programme, we are trying to trigger interest in climate change, its impacts on sustainability, livelihood issues and adaptation stories among journalists, editors and media houses in the region and thereby among the masses,” he noted.
PN Vasanti, director general of CMS, said “The challenge before journalists reporting on climate change is to connect changes occurring at the local level with larger global climate science and policies. We need to build this capacity among interested journalists.”
She mentioned that CMS Vatavatan film festival has been trying to spread awareness about environment through films.
Under the programme, a series of media workshops will be held in all the Northeastern states over the next three years. Senior thematic experts, scientists and policymakers will participate in these workshops and interact with journalists from different media outlets in the Himalayan states.
Fellowships will also be awarded for journalists from the region to write field-based stories. Best stories written by state-level journalists will be awarded at the end of the programme, she added.