World Press Freedom Day 2024: “Journalists must take climate change reporting seriously” – Jamaica’s Information Minister

Jamaica’s Minister within the Office of the Prime Minister with Responsibility for Information, Robert Nesta Morgan

As the world continues towards integrating technology in the information and communications landscape, Journalists and workers in the Caribbean media fraternity must continue to uphold traditional media principles, especially when it comes to climate change reporting.
This is the sentiment of Jamaica’s Minister within the Office of the Prime Minister with Responsibility for Information, Robert Nesta Morgan, who contends that climate change reporting must be taken seriously in the digital age.
Dis/misinformation about environmental issues can lead to a lack of public and political support for climate action, effective policies, and the protection of vulnerable communities affected by climate change, as well as women and girls, as climate change tends to exacerbate existing inequalities.

A section of the gathering at the Press for the Planet Town Hall Forum at Pegasus Corporate Suites in commemoration of World Press Day 2024

Morgan made this remark at a Press for the Planet Town Hall Forum at the Pegasus Corporate Suites in commemoration of World Press Day 2024.
The Jamaican Minister, who is visiting Guyana along with a delegation from his ministry, underscored that factual and credible climate change reporting is important now more than ever, considering the influence social media has on environmental issues and conversations among the wider population.
He noted that to achieve sustainable development, it is necessary for Journalists to report accurately, timely, and comprehensively on environmental issues and their consequences, as well as on possible solutions.
“Citizens who may not have necessarily climbed the academic ladder and depend traditionally on radio and TV for factual information- if we as Caribbean States do not quickly invest in a system and structure to protect our people from misinformation, disinformation and [protect] traditional media standards what we are going to have a crisis of trust and confidence, which ultimately transcend from just climate change and go into trust and confidence in our democratic institutions,” the Jamaican Minister said.
According to Morgan, social media and the instant release of information about national issues is negatively impacting the financial status of broadcast agencies across the Caribbean.
To combat this, he noted that investments must be made to reinvigorate the role of traditional media and implement restrictions on social media consumption.
“We need to taking these things seriously, because I don’t think we do. The Tik Tok in the Caribbean is not the same as the Tik Tok in China why? Why is the algorithm in China different…? Why am I not allowed to read certain articles in Canada but I can read them in Guyana on particular news website?” he added.
This year marks the 31st anniversary of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly’s decision proclaiming May 3 as the International Day for Press Freedom.
World Press Freedom Day 2024 is dedicated to the importance of journalism and freedom of expression in the context of the current global environmental crisis.
Journalists encounter significant challenges in seeking and disseminating information on contemporary issues, such as supply-chain problems, climate migration, extractive industries, illegal mining, pollution, poaching, animal trafficking, deforestation, or climate change.
It is a Journalist’s duty to advocate for the visibility of these issues, since they are crucial for promoting peace and democratic values worldwide.
Media plays a pivotal role in society, by disseminating facts for public consumption and helping citizens stay informed, establish opinions, make informed choices, and participate meaningfully in society.
The availability of facts and information is fundamental to exercising such rights as access to health, education, justice, and to fighting against gender and economic inequalities.
In this regard, the day is being commemorated under the global theme “A Press for the Planet: Journalism in the face of Environmental Crisis.” (G1)