Date Posted: January 16th, 2012
A delegation of community radio journalists from the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC) covered the activities and events of the 17th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP-17) held in Durban, South Africa from November 28 to December 9, 2011. AMARC also participated in the COP17 debates as an observer NGO. On December 8th, AMARC issued a press release which outlines its perspective on climate change and the media’s role in promoting environmentally sustainable development. Passages from the press release are excerpted below.
We, as community broadcasters, are acutely aware that dominant patterns of production and consumption are causing environmental devastation, resource depletion and extinction of species.… In treating information as a commodity and not as a right of peoples, the mainstream media pay more attention to short term gain and the interests of the powerful. Thus, the environmental agenda has been reduced to the fatalities and catastrophes when in reality the environmental crisis is also the moral crisis of an economic system and of our political and social institutions. We believe it is necessary to reaffirm the social responsibility of the media to act in the public interest and to defend the most vulnerable and we encourage community media to promote environmentally sustainable development.
We commit ourselves to:
* Uphold the right of everyone to receive clear and timely information on environmental issues, and on development plans that may affect us, or in which we have an interest.
* Adopt the climate change agenda so that communities we work with in different parts of the world have quality information that enables them to take more effective action and to demand to those in power to adopt policies in order to mitigate the causes of climate change….
* Support civil society at local, regional and global levels, and promote the participation of all individuals and organizations in decision making that affects their lives and livelihoods.
* Protect and exercise the right to freedom of opinion, expression, association and dissent to rethink new, more just, more equitable and more sustainable models of development….
* Adopt best practices in our own activities with respect to environmental management and promote a carbon neutral community media sector….
We call on governments as well as international and multilateral organizations:
* to promote the existence and development of community media that serve those populations most excluded from development and those most affected by the consequences of climate change;
* to establish mechanisms and adequate economic investment for local community media to realize their full potential in order to build informed societies that are conscious of the need to implement local actions to mitigate the global phenomenon of climate change.
Likewise we call on the nations of the world to rethink the current development model which is the leading cause of climate change, and to establish new economic, political, social and ethical systems that improve the distribution of wealth and assure a more rational and sustainable use of natural resources and protect indigenous people, local and rural communities.
You can read the press release in its entirety at: http://wiki.amarc.org/?action=shownews&id=1342&lang=EN