The role of media in tackling crisis – COVID-19, climate change


The media are working round-the-clock and keeping the public informed on the latest developments and vital information about coronavirus disease (COVID-19), while risking their lives in the process. Just like the doctors and nurses, they are also considered to be on the frontlines of this global pandemic.

When most people have to stay home due to the enhanced community quarantine, the journalists, field reporters, cameramen, photographers and other members of the media still report for work everyday, facing the risk of exposing themselves to the unseen but deadly coronavirus. Most of them continue to roam around the communities to look for stories during these times. It is really true that the news never sleeps.

In this era of misinformation and fake news, the media plays a crucial role in addressing the COVID-19. From acting as a watchdog to raising awareness, they have remained steadfast and resolute in attaining their mission: Informing the public on the latest developments about COVID-19, which has effectively housebound millions of people across the globe. Most people rely on the media during these times as a source of information, keeping the public up-to-date with the information regularly provided by the DOH and other health experts. 

The COVID-19 is a strong reminder of how much people need credible journalism, especially in times of crisis. The accurate, timely, and urgent reporting and media’s coverage of the coronavirus crisis has helped Filipinos understand the danger of the virus and how to contain its spread through measures such as social distancing.

Just like the attention on COVID-19, which is now dominating news headlines, the coverage for the climate crisis should have been given similar importance. Climate change should be known to be more than just carbon dioxide and disasters.

It is important for journalists to cover all news pertaining to climate change and environmental degradation, because it can contribute to creating public awareness. Media coverage provides a vital link between science and the public. The field of science can often be confusing for the people as they are not expected to look up science research, read and then analyze countless papers to understand the highly technical content. It is the media’s responsibility to have scientific literacy and interpret climate change stories in layman’s term. 

Journalists have the ability to protect people and promote sustainable development, by engaging the audiences in climate change issues and help accelerate climate action through advocacy and education. Once the public has easy access to news on climate change’s imminent and future consequences, people will quickly realize the importance of climate action, which could result in profound changes that would be seen across industries and lifestyles. 

The media also provides open discussion and access to information for a local response to the global issue of climate change. It is an important channel that informs vulnerable communities of essential aspects and impacts of climate change, provides examples of best practices that they can adapt, and promotes mitigation activities that limit the amount of warming the Earth experiences. Through informed reporting, journalists can show activities that people are already undertaking to prepare for climate change. Journalists share stories of destruction, and also stories of hope, resistance and resilience. 

We recognize the journalists and the role they play in this same fight. The accessibility of information the media reported is essential to manage any crisis. An aware society is the best weapon against climate change. We must ensure that no one is left behind in terms of awareness, understanding and corresponding actions.

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