Environmentalists call for comprehensive media coverage on disaster preparedness

Published On: April 21, 2024 04:26 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, April 21: In the latest session of Media Talk Series-XXXII, organized by the Faculty of Journalism, Department of Major Arts, St Xavier's College, environmental experts called for consistent and comprehensive media coverage on disaster preparedness, emphasizing that attention shouldn't be confined to hard news stories like post-disaster events. This event was part of the activities leading up to World Press Freedom Day, with the theme for the series set as "Role of the Press in Tackling Environmental Crisis."

Data from the Ministry of Health and Population indicates that air pollution in Nepal is responsible for approximately 40,000 deaths annually, with the Kathmandu Valley being one of the most polluted cities in the world. “Good news is also news, and we should go beyond just the immediate headlines,” said Sonia Awale, executive editor at Nepali Times, who specializes in environmental reporting.

Top Khatri, a conservationist and natural resource manager at the United Nations Environment Program, highlighted that despite the continued coverage of environmental issues by both national and international media outlets, there persists a trend for the media outlets to prioritize political and corporate stories on their front pages. “Lessons learned in the past must be translated into action,” he emphasized. Citing cases such as Nepali soldiers having had to die during wildfire operations in Ramechhap a couple of years ago, he brought to notice the lack of capacity enhancement in Nepal and redefinition of community forestry programs which are important to be covered by the press.

Fr Dr Augustine Thomas, SJ, the principal of St Xavier's College, stated, "In a Jesuit institution like St Xavier's, the role of media studies is more than just a course or a means of advocacy; it's about fostering environmental stewardship among staff and students. For us, journalism studies contribute to the mission of educating individuals who are conscious of their role in creating a more just and sustainable world."

Chun Bahadur Gurung, who leads the Journalism program at St Xavier’s College, said, “In alignment with the theme of the upcoming World Press Freedom Day, I am pleased to have an interactive and constructive conversation among the students. This event significantly helped us in educating and empowering students on important environmental themes.”


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