Climate change is becoming a severe problem that is continually debated within the media sphere. Currently Tony Abbott has maintained a strong stand that climate change isn’t occurring which is often disputed by activists and opposing politicians.
It is a journalists responsibility to avoid the issues of ‘False balance’ and ‘Superficial balance’ when reporting climate change. Providing too much time to one individual can be seen as favoritism while recognising both parties can lead to informational bias. Western journalists have moved away from opinion based knowledge on climate change and are now forming their assumptions through the influence of leading scientists (Ward 2009, p. 14). It has been recognised that a large percentage of the general public is able to understand and evaluate climate change issues without scientific stimulus enabling journalists to portray both opinion based and scientific aspects more thoroughly (Lyytimäki 2009, p. 31).
Currently climate change is affecting several of the smaller islands that encircle Australia. Kiribati has become one of the islands severely impacted by climate change, with much of the island being inundated by water. There has been discussions in relation to moving the islands population to Australia, however this has caused controversy towards their status as individuals, often being labelled as potential immigrants (Dreher 2014). What is occurring to their homes is uncontrollable and eventually they will have no choice but to vacate the island, but is it fair to label them immigrants when they don’t have a choice, their homes are being destroyed.
In order to tackle these climate issues plaguing islands such as Kiribati, an activist group called the Pacific Calling Partnership (logo below) has become a representative on these individuals. The group has successfully created awareness towards this crisis, their accomplishments include passing a bill to control emissions as well as preparing and teaching employees about these crisis’. It is known that the PCP provides a voice to those who are unheard, ensuring they gain as much coverage and awareness towards climate change and the places that have been severely effected (Dreher 2014). PCP are now lobbying for a Climate Justice approach stating it will “amplify the voices of those people who have done least to cause climate change, but who affected most severely by it” (Dreher 2014).
Climate change is a continuing issue that plagues society and as a country Australia must recognise the suffering of these islands surrounding the coastline before it is too late and they have no choice but to inhabit Australia and be seen as immigrants rather than climate change victims.
Dreher, T 2014, ‘Global crises, Global news: Pacific Calling Partnership’, lecture, BCM111, University of Wollongong, delivered 8 October.
Lyytimäki, J 2009, ‘Mulling over the Climate Debate: Media Education on Climate Change’, Journal of Sustainable Development, vol. 2, no. 3, pp. 29-33.
Ward, B 2009, ‘Journalism ethics and climate change reporting in a period of intense media uncertainty’, Ethics in science and environmental politics, vol. 9, pp. 13-15.