Ghana

 Help educate public on climate change

Media practitioners everywhere must be alive to problems in their societies and be advocators educating the public on these problems and also demanding actions for solutions from the relevant quarters.

Since media practitioners are also human and as such suf­fer some human frailties, they sometimes have to be prompted to or reminded about what is happening in society and the need for them to act as it is required of them.

Sometimes they have to be called upon to pay particular at­tention to some specific problems because of their serious effects on the society.

Media practitioners must not deem such calls as moves to den­igrate them, but ones meant to emphasise how society value the role they can play in its forward march.

Thus, it is not out of place for Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, Chief of Staff, Office of the President of the country, to call on media practitioners in Africa to prioritise advocacy on climate change and other environmental crises to support efforts to mitigate their impacts.

The Ghanaian Times believes this call is paramount because generally in Africa, those who are supposed to take the necessary actions to address certain prob­lems most of the times neglect their roles because whether they perform or not, no one would hold them accountable.

In the face of the lack-of-ac­countability situation, it would take only the media to expose those neglecting the duties for which they are paid by the tax­payer.

Sometimes, it is not as if duty bearers have shirked their respon­sibilities, but they have challenges they cannot just wake up to talk about for various reasons and so media promptings create the op­portunities for them to ease their frustrations.

On such occasions the media can demand action(s) from the relevant institutions or ministries.

It is also important for the media to inform and educate the public about occurrences that affect their very existence and progress.

Relating these to climate change and other environmen­tal crises to support efforts to mitigate their impacts, we can say that the media must continuously study environmental crises in terms of their causes, effects and how they can be addressed.

They can then get to know who does what, who should do what and if need be, what media practitioners themselves can do to help stem the crises or mitigate their effects.

This is a daunting task because in Africa, due to the diverse perspectives in different societ­ies on even the same problems everywhere, the African media practitioner has to diagnose the particular situation and report on it for effect.

Frema Osei-Opare is, therefore, right to point out that the media should take up the responsibility of informing Africans about the adverse effects of human activi­ties on the environment and the need to protect it.

She is equally right when she says media education is critical in influencing public opinion on environmental issues as it can positively impact the larger soci­ety in combatting climate change and other environmental crises.

Elsewhere, the society is well informed about climate change and the effects on the society and there are also measures adopted by governments to address the situation.

In Africa, it will only take the media to push for that state of af­fairs as the people find it difficult to demand such accountability.

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