In the lead-up to the global climate change conference in Paris later this month, Information Minister Khieu Kanharith yesterday urged the media to increase reporting on the effects of climate change in Cambodia so that citizens can be better prepared for it.
“I would like to request that radio and television stations and all state and private media broadcast on a timely and regular basis weather forecasts as well as warnings of floods and drought,” Mr. Kanharith told a training workshop for reporters at the five-star Himawari Hotel.
He also urged media outlets to report more general knowledge about climate change to inform Cambodians about how they can reduce climate change through conservation.
The minister also advised reporters not to be swayed by politics and to stick to the facts. “Bad reporting leads to a misinformed public,” he told the Media and Climate Change workshop, which was organized by his ministry jointly with the Environment Ministry.
“We want our Cambodian media to understand the reality of natural disasters. When any disaster occurs, politicians look at it in different ways.
So, [reporters] have to stick to [their] principles. For example, some said that because we filled in Boeung Kak Lake that the city would be flooded,” Mr. Kanharith explained.
He was referring to the controversial filling of lake that resulted in the displacement of thousands of people who had lived around it to make way for a massive development project.
Hor Sopheap, a secretary of state at the Information Ministry, agreed that climate change deserved more media coverage. “We need to pay more attention to it because climate change is having an effect around the world not just in Cambodia,” he said.
Environment Ministry Secretary of State Yin Kim Sean said climate change is also a threat to security, especially for countries like Cambodia that rely on farming and fishing.
“The effective response to climate change is for the public to understand and have the ability to access [information] and broadcast it to the relevant people,” he added.
According to a recent study, climate change impacts people in rural areas the most. They also have the least access to information about climate change and the least protection from it.