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Journalists rally for climate change coverage policy reform

"I am especially delighted and note the support to develop a curriculum on reporting on climate change. The plan to streamline the modules and anchor the curriculum in an institution of higher learning is welcomed by the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Forestry as it ensures sustainability of such trainings." PS Eng. Festus Ng'eno

Journalists representing media houses from across the country have urged government to provide clear policies that promote coverage of climate change related stories.

During day two of the Climate Change Reporting Pre-Training workshop, hosted by the Kenya Editors’ Guild (KEG) and GIZ-Kenya, the workshop highlighted the need to ease access to information on climate change as a major recommendation to help bridge the gap and needs assessment for constructive reporting in Kenya.

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Principal Secretary for Environment and Climate Change Engineer Festus Ngeno, said the workshop is crucial to foster discussions and generate recommendations for the dissemination of climate change information.

“As we navigate this era of environmental crisis, the role of the media in shaping public opinion, driving policy change, and raising awareness on climate-related issues cannot be overstated. The media serves as a powerful tool for disseminating information, sparking conversations, and holding stakeholders accountable for their actions in the face of climate change” he said.

The PS added; “Climate change reporting plays a significant role in advocating for local action and solutions to combat climate change. In addition, well-trained journalists and editors will highlight success stories, innovative solutions, and policy recommendations in an easy-to-understand language to spur further action.”

He noted that the role of  the media in climate change cannot be overstepped since it helps the public on policy decisions.

“Meaningful reporting on the impacts of climate change can help our communities and businesses in Kenya better understand and prepare for the challenges they face leading to enhanced resilience and adaptation at the local level. You also can influence public opinion and policy decision on climate change, he emphasised. .

Several journalists brought to light the existing knowledge gaps in the reportage of climate change-related stories and the myriad of challenges faced by media houses in Kenya.

In response to these challenges, Chrispinus Juma from RMS proposed that government agencies should adopt digital modes of communication on climate change. This move, he believes, could help bridge the existing knowledge gap of climate change information.

Dr. John Walker Recha a research Scientist at Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security Program emphasized that CO2 is the primary driver of climate change through the greenhouse effect. This phenomenon occurs when gases in Earth’s atmosphere trap heat from the sun, leading to an overall warming of the planet’s surface and lower atmosphere.

KEG Guild will also host sensitization sessions for reporters and editors in Mombasa and Kisumu which will culminate in the development of a training module on climate change reporting.

Gene Gituku
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