Sunday, July 11, 2010

CLIMATE CHANGE: The media must inform and educate

CLIMATE CHANGE: The media must inform and educate

People all over the world continue to see climate change as a threat. The majority expect the media to not only inform the public about climate change, but also educate them about its consequences.

At the same time, the number of people, who aren't concerned at all has risen in the last two years as well: from 4% in 2008 to 9% now.

These are just some of the results of a global study from the market research company Synovate in co-operation with Deutsche Welle. Synovate surveyed more than 13,000 people from 18 different countries about the potential threats, the effects and the possibilities that exist to counteract climate change.

The complete results were presented at this year's Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum, entitled "The Heat is On - Climate Change and the Media", that took place from June 21- June 23, 2010 in Bonn.

The "Synovate and Deutsche Welle Global Study on Climate Change 2010" is the third survey that Synovate has completed on the subject. Researchers relied on respondents from around the world - including Germany, France, Brazil, USA, China and South Africa. In Germany, the UK and Turkey, more than 60 per cent of respondents are concerned about climate change. In the Netherlands (38 percent), Russia (42 per cent) and the USA (54 per cent) it is noticeably lower.

When asked about what they considered a "good or excellent source" of climate change information, 50 per cent of respondents stated television, followed by websites (48 per cent) and newspapers (44 per cent). Television was rated especially high in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) (87 per cent), China (85 per cent) and Japan (78 per cent). For websites, China (81 per cent), the UK (71 per cent and the UAE (64 per cent) were on top and for newspapers it was Japan and China (78 per cent), UAE (76 per cent) and Brazil (59 per cent).

In Russia and South Africa, a noticeably lower number of respondents believe that these forms of media were a useful source of information. Thirty-two per cent of the respondents surveyed thought social media sites and blogs were a good source for climate change information. "We see the potential to grow with the proliferation of this media, especially among the younger generation. It is important that the younger generation understands the impact of climate change issues, since they are the future owners of this planet," said Steve Garton, Executive Director of Media at Synovate when presenting the results in Bonn.

Mr Erik Bettermann, Deutsche Welle Director General, expressed the believe that the media has a large responsibility to bear. "The main focus for the media in the future should be objective reporting and breaking down complex topics. At the same time, it is important for journalists to present well-researched stories that foster individuals to take action.

"The media must create a forum for the exchange of ideas and opinions - and shouldn't automatically buy in to those who offer sensational reports from questionable disasters or those who prematurely state that all is clear."

The "Synovate Climate Change Study 2010" also shows that 88 per cent of respondents believed that industry should be responsible for the fight against climate change. More than 70 per cent stated that they have done or were willing to do something to reduce climate change. Nearly half of all respondents were willing to buy more environmentally-friendly products.

Mr. Boakye-Dankwa Boadi

GNA Correspondent

Bonn, Germany

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