The conference featured participants from 18 different countries
“One of the potential conflicts inherent in climate change is articulated, not least in the media, as existing between the “North” and “South” – particularly when it comes to responsibility for the crisis and its solutions – the special relevance of this conference is to cut across this perceived divide and discuss journalistic experiences in covering the climate change in countries both in the “North” and the “South”, and also in different ways within both the North and South” said Ambassador Ragne Birte Lund, who opened the conference by emphasising the contemporary importance of international dialogue on these issues. “By enabling journalists, media and research communities from different parts of the world to come together in a non-traditional and informal setting to discuss climate change, we hope to inspire you to tackle the different barriers and contribute to more qualitative-, knowledge- and scientific- based journalism” she further added.
The conference was a coming together of the MediaClimate Network, an international research group that analyses in particular media coverage of the UN climate summits, and the Global Intermedia Dialogue Network, which was established in the wake of the Global Intermedia Dialogues held during 2006-2008. The conference was attended by representatives from 18 different countries, spanning the “north-south” or “developed-developing” divide. In particular, the conference boasted strong South Asian participation with Bangladesh, Nepal, India and Pakistan all well represented, as well as a large Norwegian presence.
Many issues, such as political influences, differing professional realities and working conditions, as well as the climate situation in itself were brought up and discussed during the conference. Main speakers included John Vidal from the Guardian, UK, Joydeep Gupta from Thirdpole, India and Farid Hossain, Bureau Chief, Associated Press, Bangladesh. The conference also featured the launch of the book “Media Meets Climate: The Global Challenge for Journalism”, edited by Risto Kunelius and Elisabeth Eide, as well as presentations of climate related films.
The conference follows a series of conferences with journalists and researchers from Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Norway that have been organized earlier, including: “Covering each other – in an era of imagined clashes of civilizations” in Lahore, Pakistan in the spring of 2009, and “Media, Extremism and Freedom of Expression” in Jakarta in February 2011, as well as a smaller conference addressing challenges in covering the Arab Spring, organized in Oslo in October 2011.
The conference was organized by the department of Journalism and Media Studies at Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences in Cooperation with the Dept. of Mass Communication at Dhaka University. The two departments have also been cooperating in the Norwegian funded NOMA programme on a Master’s programme in Journalism and Media Studies from 2008 to 2012.