Environmental News Coverage in Bangladesh

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Coverage/Framing of Climate change through Newspaper

Introduction

Climate change is a change in the average weather of a particular area or region. This includes temperature, wind patterns, and precipitation. This change is referred to in a global sense and concerns the earth as a whole. The Earth’s climate changes naturally at a low speed and all life forms adapt well to this change but in the last 150-200 years, it has been observed that the change has been too rapid. This human-induced climate change is a cause of grave environmental concerns because it is a great threat to every life form on earth. Some of the human activities that contribute to climate change are the burning of fossil fuels, agriculture, deforestation, industrial practices and consumerism.

The impacts of global warming and climate change are worldwide. For Bangladesh they are most critical as large part of population is vulnerable to a range of natural hazards. Geographical location of the land has made Bangladesh most vulnerable to environmental changes. In addition high population and poverty has placed it among the high risk countries. If the sea level water rises by one meter, 18% of the country’s total land will submerge and this is a direct threat to the lives of 11% of the population (Munir and Khan, 2008). In recent times climatic hazards, including repeated floods, cyclones, tornados, storm surge, tidal bore etc are very common to Bangladesh. More adverse impacts are projected for coming decades.

Now climate change is the burning question of the day. Many countries and organizations are raising their voice to stop the activities that induce climate change. In 1991 the Intergovernmental Panel on climate change (IPCC) raised the alarm globally by presenting scientific findings on global warming, emission increase and climate change impacts. This resulted in a worldwide recognition that some serious action is necessary to save our planet. In 1992 the UN Climate Convention led to the establishment of an inter-governmental process to identify and implement necessary response measures to curb global warming and address its negative impacts. Climate issues have been the focus of media attention since the Earth Summit (the UN Conference on Environment and Development) in 1992 when the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC or FCCC), an international environmental treaty, was produced. Later Kyoto Protocol (1997) and subsequent climate conferences in Bali, Indonesia (2007), Copenhagen Summit in Denmark (2009) Cancun Summit in Mexico (2010), Durban Summit in South Africa (2011) and Doha summit in Qatar (2012) grabbed wider media attention globally.

In each climate conference, the leaders of the first world encountered wave of protests, as they recurrently failed to deliver climate aid to the affected countries and to reach accord to cut green house gas emission. The implications of the protests were reflected in the global media that often encouraged, shaped, and influenced the protests.

Bangladeshi news papers are always aware in climate change issues. They gave extensive coverage of catastrophes, which drew worldwide attention, such as tsunami, Haiti earthquake and cyclones Sidr and Aila which hit the coastal regions of Bangladesh. Reports of flood, heavy rainfall and landslide, for example are always dominant in Bangladeshi newspapers both in terms of number and treatment. Among the global events, COP 15, 16 and 17 received wide media coverage. Newspapers were able to create a public space for discussion on the issues generated around the conferences. ( reference)

This research examines the stand of media of a victim country against climate change. It is to understand how they address the issue? As COP 15, 16 and 17 hugely focused in Bangladeshi media this research tries to understand the role of Bangladesh newspapers in environmental agenda setting and framing on basis of above three climate change conference....
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