Climate Change: Training female journalists to work better

Date: December 16, 2011
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On the sidelines of COP17 at the nearby University of KwaZulu-Natal, the South African-based Women’s Net is currently training female journalists to work better by using web 2.0 tools and social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter when reporting climate change. Journalists play an important role in reporting information to communities.

Community media is particularly important because one of their mandates is to produce diverse media content. They therefore give a voice to many women whose stories on climate change are unkown.

Lee Tsomo from Eldoz FM in Johannesburg, SA, believes that women have the right to have a voice in climate change discussions and to access information on adaptation. In addition to this, she mentions that the impact of using social media as a platform for communication is huge.

“It could be even greater if Government can do more to teach people about climate change through technology,” adds Tsomo.

In addition to journalists, civil society organisations also form an important component of empowering women and girls to access information and use ICT.

“Women have something to say that is valuable, specific and different,” points out Lerato Legoabe, co-director of Women’s Net Women. “They constitute 52% of the population and also deserve to be in the public domain and to be heard.”

Through ICT, it has become possible to move women’s stories and experiences toward greater integration within the broader public space. In the context of climate change discourse, the powerful act of giving women a voice to express themselves through online media services such as blogs and Facebook is indeed a necessary one.

Whereas mainstream media is often highly controlled by ownership patterns and private interests that determine what is deemed important for public consumption, new media puts the power in the hands of the people. As noted by Legoabe, “the freedom that comes with the Internet allows you to decide what you want to publish because you are the editor, the photographer, the reporter.”


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