En­vi­ron­men­tal jour­nal­ism

Pakistan Observer - - OPINION - HAFIZA SANA GUL

En­vi­ron­men­tal re­port­ing does not rank high among the edi­to­rial pri­or­i­ties and news­room hi­er­ar­chies across the coun­try. Me­dia or­ga­ni­za­tions agreed that me­dia cov­er­age is an im­por­tant way to spread knowl­edge about en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues. Be­cause of this be­lief in the me­dia as an im­por­tant ed­u­ca­tional tool, all in­ter­vie­wees told that most of the jour­nal­ists in the coun­try are cov­er­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal de­tailed is­sues as rou­tine busi­ness. They are not hav­ing spe­cific train­ing in this re­gard.

Cov­er­ing the en­vi­ron­ment in its geopo­lit­i­cal, so­cial and sci­en­tific con­texts re­quires ex­pert knowl­edge and the ca­pac­ity to frame en­vi­ron­men­tal sto­ries in an at­trac­tive way. For most of them even the com­monly used terms about en­vi­ron­ment like acid rain, ozone layer de­ple­tion and ex­tinc­tion were heard terms with­out any mean­ing. Our ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tutes are giv­ing lit­tle or no im­por­tance to the spe­cial­ized jour­nal­is­tic tools. Public ed­u­ca­tion on en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues needs to be a pri­or­ity fo­cus but those at the helm of af­fairs are to­tally in­dif­fer­ent to this field.

Na­tional con­tri­bu­tion to­wards global cli­mate change has not been con­sid­ered of sig­nif­i­cance by all the news­pa­pers. De­for­esta­tion, how­ever, has been con­sid­ered that ma­jor cause of cli­mate at na­tional level and then comes up in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion. A ma­jor chal­lenge fac­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal jour­nal­ists in coun­try is the lack of re­li­able en­vi­ron­men­tal data; the jour­nal­ists are re­ly­ing more on data pro­vided by govern­ment of­fi­cials or other sec­ondary sources whose re­li­a­bil­ity is never checked be­fore go­ing to make it public. — Rawalpindi

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