COP21: IFAD report says top media fail to connect climate change, migration, food security

Paris, France (PANA) – Top news media are failing to identify climate change as a contributor to some of the world’s biggest crises, including migration, food insecurity and conflict, according to a new research report funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and presented at the 21st UNCCD Conference of Parties (COP21) in Paris Friday.

“The media, whether local or global, are among the world’s most influential institutions and how they shape the climate change narrative remains vitally important,” said IFAD President, Kanayo F. Nwanze, about why his organization sponsored the research. “If the world becomes aware of how climate change threatens our food security or why it is a catalyst for migration and conflict, then we can expect better support for policies and investments that can pre-empt future crises.”

The report, 'Food, Migration and Climate Change: The Untold Story', was prepared by Sam Dubberley, a journalist and Director of Kishnish Media Ltd. The research was conducted in September and includes an analysis of eight popular and highly influential news outlets.

Dubberley explained, “We chose to conduct our research in September so that it wouldn’t be skewed by all of the reporting we’re seeing now because of the COP21 in Paris.”

The report looks at the depth of media reporting around climate change and whether it was being linked to issues of food security, agriculture and migration and, if so, whether those stories were given prominent placement such as on front pages.

It asked what power voices were heard throughout the stories and if farmers or migrants themselves were ever interviewed or quoted. And finally, it looked at what news readers understand about food and migration-related climate change impacts and their impression of media coverage provided.

“The research clearly shows that media analysed did not make the connection between climate change and many of the other stories dominating the news agenda at that time,” Dubberley said. “In fact, our research shows that climate change never once reached the front page of the news outlets we looked at.”

With over three-quarters of the world’s poorest people living in the rural areas of developing countries, Nwanze emphasized that small-scale farmers are always impacted by the latest global crises – whether it be violence and conflict, the rise of extremism or climate change.  

“It’s clear - if we don’t recognize the signs earlier, if we don’t make those crucial links then poverty, migration, hunger and conflict will continue to make headlines,” he said.

Last year, IFAD funded a research report that looked at how 19 large global and regional news organizations covered issues related to migration and, in particular, food security and agriculture and how it impacted on migration.
-0- PANA AR 4Dec2015

04 december 2015 15:50:52




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