World Press Freedom is commemorated globally on May 3rd to highlight and emphasize the importance of journalism and freedom of the press in a healthy functioning society. This year’s campaign, according to UNESCO, is ‘Press For The Planet,’ which relates to the global environmental crisis we are facing.

UNESCO highlights:

“The climate and biodiversity crisis are not only affecting the environment and ecosystems but also the lives of billions of people around the world. Their stories of upheaval and loss deserve to be known and shared. They are not always pretty to watch. They can even be disturbing. But it’s only by knowing that action is possible. Exposing the crisis is the first step to solving it.”

“That’s why the role of journalists is crucial. It is through their work, their courage and their perseverance that we can know what is happening across the planet.  They work on the frontlines of our collective fight for the health of our planet and our struggle for livable lives. On this World Press Freedom Day, let’s recognize and celebrate their work in helping us shape a better future.”

Objectively, the climate crisis is the most pressing issue we are facing as a society today, and it will take global and collective action to mitigate its long-term effects. According to, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reached the highest in May 2022, while 2023 was the hottest year on record, and human-caused deforestation was responsible for at least 20% of all global greenhouse gas emissions. 

The effects of the climate crisis is felt everywhere, but affects the vulnerable and marginalised societies predominantly, that’s why the media plays a crucial role in educating, empowering and mitigating the effects of climate change on these communities.

Climate reporting is the collection of data to tell stories about the changes in the climate in a timely manner, focusing on how it affects us and how we can mitigate it through policies and collective action. 

In Africa, it also means demystifying Western narratives around climate change and including the African experiences and perspectives of climate change. 

That means: 

  • Use local sources who understand the African experience. 
  • Make the information more accessible and relatable by talking about the day to day experiences. 
  • Tailor climate stories for different audiences, including rural communities, corporate/business/investors, and general readers.
  • Don’t wait for disaster to strike: keep educating your audience about the effects of climate change.

Guidelines for climate reporting in Africa:

  • Produce informative and timely climate-related information for affected communities and corporate awareness.
  • Adopt a forward-thinking approach in tackling climate mitigation and adaptation.
  • Collaborate with science analysts to simplify jargon and statistics for diverse audiences.
  • Focus on community voices and success stories through documentaries to share practical achievements.

Empowering readers and influencing policy change:

  • Provide actionable steps for readers to address climate change and reduce carbon footprint.
  • Writers play a role in shaping policy advocacy and influencing developmental change.
  • Climate knowledge should be intentional, context-specific, and inclusive, addressing vulnerabilities and solutions.

Journalists have the responsibility to tell stories that matter, and we should do so responsibly especially when every day life is impacted.

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