The Listening Post

Climate change: Is the media failing us?

Why journalists fail to adequately report on climate change. Plus, the perils of covering the environment in Indonesia.

On The Listening Post this week we bring you a special show on climate change and the news coverage that seldom matches the scale and the urgency of the problem.

This year, once again, extreme weather events – hurricanes, floods, wildfires – have provided the news media with the opportunity to address a planet-sized elephant in the room: climate change.

But once the storm has passed, the media too moves on. The latest round of global climate talks is happening right now in Germany but the media attention has been sparse.

Earlier this year, climate change came second in an international public survey of global threats and yet journalists still regularly fall short. The Listening Post’s Will Yong asks why.

Lisa Hymas, Media Matters for America
Nicholas Beuret, University of Lancaster
Martin Lukacs, environment writer, The Guardian
Amantha Perera, journalist
Jenni Monet, journalist and filmmaker

Indonesia: The media and the environment

One country with a major stake in the climate change story is Indonesia.

Many of the country’s islands will end up underwater if sea levels continue to rise at the current rate.

Despite the clear and present threat, mainstream media coverage of environmental issues rarely goes beyond reporting forest fires or mudslides.

Critics blame media groups for their close relationships with agribusiness and mining companies who are among the worst environmental offenders.

Mainstream journalists also find it hard to report on these issues because of political corruption, and NGOs have stepped in to fill the information gap as a result.

The Listening Post‘s Meenakshi Ravi reports.

Harry Surjadi, head, Indonesian Society of Environmental Journalists
Sapariah Saturi, senior editor, Mongabay-Indonesia
Merah Ismail, campaign manager, JATAM NGO (Mining Advocacy Network)
Indoarto Priadi, managing director, TVOne