ENTERTAINMENT | Island News

Climate change reporting helps human rights, says lawyer

By PARIJATA GURDAYAL Pacific Scoop/Pacific Media Watch Parijata Gurdayal is a reporter on Wansolwara, the student journalism newspaper published by the University of the South Pacific. The media needs to
09 Apr 2012 11:58

Panellists (from left) executive director ONOC Dennis Miller, media advisor Dev Nadkarui, Fiji Sun general manager publications Leone Cabenatabua, Bjoern Hecht and director Pacific Media Centre AUT University, New Zealand Professor David Robie. Photo: JONA KONATACI

By PARIJATA GURDAYAL

Pacific Scoop/Pacific Media Watch

Parijata Gurdayal is a reporter on Wansolwara, the student journalism newspaper published by the University of the South Pacific.

The media needs to increase its commitment to reporting on climate change issues in order to safeguard those affected, says human rights lawyer Seema Naidu.
Speaking at the Pacific Media Summit in Pacific Harbour in March, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s legal trainer on human rights said the media could serve as a critical tool in managing human rights violations of climate change victims.
She commended the media for its coverage of climate change issues in the Pacific but said more needed to be done to highlight the human rights violations of the communities most affected.

Human rights issue
Ms Naidu said the increasing frequency of extreme weather events, rising sea levels and droughts affects the very basic elements of daily life of millions of people, thus threatening their human rights.
“These people’s life experiences should be shared in the media and that’s one way the media can help these victims,” Ms Naidu said.
She said women were especially more exposed by climate change-related risks because of gender discrimination, inequality and inhibiting gender roles.
“Rural women are particularly affected by effects on agriculture and deteriorating living conditions in rural communities,” she said.
She suggested that women’s groups also extend their advocacy work to include the women victims of climate change.

Journalists responsible
Ms Naidu also pointed out that Article 19 of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights holds journalists socially responsible to report climate change in the mainstream media.
“Article 19 doesn’t say that people have a right to media.
“Media is only a tool through which their basic human rights of freedom of opinion, expression and information can be achieved,” she said.
She urged media in the Pacific to strongly promote international co-operation and participation, practice fairness, respect privacy and fulfill their social responsibility to help address climate change in the Pacific.



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