Print Media Coverage of Climate Change in Cameroon
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Climate change is a threat to humanity. The more people are informed on the adaption and mitigation processes of the phenomena, the more they can manage the unavoided situation. The media has a great role to in informing the masses because media content has the ability to cause reactions from its audience.
Looking at four different newspapers from Cameroon, The Post, Cameroon Tribune, Municipal Updates and Green Vision Newspapers, looking at these papers for four weeks and carrying out a quantitative content analysis, it was devised that print media coverage of climate change in Cameroon is limited.
Though many newspapers exist in Cameroon, just a few numbers of them are dedicated to environmental issues and particularly climate change.
From the result of this research, the Cameroonian media landscape is called upon to step up in environmental news coverage as content on this issue is very vital to the masses if we must avoid further dangers of climate change and adapt to the already present condition caused by it
- Background to the Study
Climate change refers to the significant long term change of the climate of a place. Cameroon is already facing consequences of climate change, including an abnormal reoccurrence of extreme weather phenomena such a violent wind, high temperatures and heavy rain which endangers communities’ ecosystems and the services they provide.
Greta Thunberg is a Swedish environmental activist who has gained international recognition for promoting the view that humanity is facing an existential crisis from climate change.
She criticized world leaders for their failure to take sufficient action to address the climate crisis. Her influence on the world stage has been described by The Guardian and other newspapers as the “Greta Effect”.
Thunberg believes that humanity is facing an existential crisis because of global warming and holds that current generation of adults responsible for creating the problem.
In her activism, Thunberg has received both strong support and strong critics for her work from politicians and the press
In February 2019, 224 academics signed an open letter of support stating that they were inspired by Thunberg’s actions and the striking school subject in making their voices heard.
The United Nations secretary general Antonio Guterres endorsed the School strikes initiated by Thunberg, admitting that “My generation has failed to respond properly to the dramatic challenge of climate change.
This is deeply felt by young people. No wonder they are angry.” Candidates for the United States 2020 presidential elections, Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke and Bernie Sanders expressed support after her speech at the September 2019 action summit in New York.
German chancellor angelamerkel indicated that young activist such as thurnberg Had driven her governmet to act faster on climate change
Thunberg campaigns have been criticized by politicians as well, such as the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Russian president Vladimir Puttin and repeatedly by US President Donald Trump.
Foreign print media like Scientific America, The Guardian, The Spectator, the Sunday Times has been making ugly remarks about Thunberg. The media too has been fair and harsh on her.
In Cameroon, print media plays little role in influencing personal, national, and international action to address climate change? How much has the media covered climate change, and what is driving change in that coverage?
How do climate change stories come to be reported and who gets cited as legitimate sources in those stories? What influence do the media play in informing public opinion? Very recent report have acknowledged the need for foreign aid to help poor nations adapt to climate change: what role is the media playing in mobilizing the aid or making it less likely to materialize.
Through times mass media coverage has proven to be key contributor- among a number of factors that have helped shaped and affected science and policy discourse as well as public understanding and action.
Mass media representational practices have broadly affected translations between science and policy and have shaped perceptions of various issues of environment, technology and risk(Weingart et al. 2000).
Studies have found that the public learns a large amount of science through consuming mass media news(Wilson 1995). In developed countries, many polls have found that the television and daily newspaper are the primary sources of information.
For instance, a United State National Science Foundation survey of U.S resident found that television remain the leading source of news in most households (53%) followed by newspapers(40%).
In developing countries, radio and more specifically in rural areas, radio has been a principal medium through which climate change news is communicated(Luganda 2005).
In Cameroon the newspaper industry is barely surviving. Altogether, all newspapers in Cameroon reach only 10 to 15% of potential readers and even that is shrinking. Over the last years at least two of the country’s leading English language newspapers have been shutdown. Many more appear occasionally on the stands.
Problems include weak ad revenue, low circulation and poor editorial content. For the people in the streets newspapers are just too expensive 400CFA (about$1) represents too steep an expense for the individual in terms of their buying power. Many prefer to read freely off the newsstands.
The stagnation of this sector has been partly blamed on poverty and a poor reading culture.
Even though Cameroon instituted an annual grant to news media many years ago, its impact is largely insignificant as media owners say they don’t even have enough money from the government to pay a week’s bill, media owners also say they are reluctant to make tough choices needed to turn the industry around. Mergers have been proposed as one way of increasing competiveness
But no one is willing to lose control of their papers. Mergers have worked in countries like Nigeria. For many industry insiders, the question been asked is how do you keep the newspaper alive?
Francis Wache, publisher of The Post Newspaper says the first step is a change of mentality in the industry, and among publishers.
As far as environmental reporting is concerned, the Cameroon media landscape did not really do much in the past, but for the year 2012 when non-governmental organizations like the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) came in to fill the gap that existed that time with the creation of The Green Vision Newspaper to provide timely information to the entire public
1.2Statement of the Problem
Cameroon is already facing consequences of climate change to a greater extent. The more people are informed by the media on how to mitigate the already present situation, the more the emission of the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will reduce. Do the media play its role? Focusing on this research, the issue is, how often do print media in Cameroon publish stories on climate change.
Environmental news coverage in Cameroon is limited. Looking at any newspaper stand here in Buea, you will realize that of the numerous papers on each stand, whether daily or weekly published, most of their stories are political and to an extend economical.
The creation of newspapers such as The Green Vision Newspaper came from the realization that the existing media organs in the country do little or no attention to the environment and climate change in particular which is a generic threat.
This has rendered the concept of environmental journalism alien in Cameroon. In a country with over 300 media houses, non can hardly boast of a channel dedicated to reporting environmental issues
- To what extend do print media cover issues on climate change in Cameroon?
- What can be done to increase coverage of climate change and environmental issues in Cameroon?
This study is based on the assumption that print media coverage of Cameroon is low
HO: Climate change is very vital to huanrace and so needs maximum coverage to inform the population on mitigation and adaptation
H1 : Print media coverage of climate change is low and reporters needs to step up in their coverage of climate change.
This study would go a would go with the hypothesis, and at the end of the the final results would either prove the assumption right or wrong
- To investigate print media coverage of climate change in Cameroon.
- To investigate newspaper coverage on climate change in Cameroon
- To investigate magazines, journals and other forms of print media coverage on climate change in Cameroon.