As the fourth power, the media has a vital role to play in disaster risk reduction efforts. During a discussion forum with broadcasters organized by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction and the World Broadcasting Union in Geneva on Monday 13 May, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the Reduction of Disasters disaster risk, Mami Mizutori urged the media to play their role in disaster prevention and risk reduction, and to fulfill their mandate of promoting the public good.
” We often call the mainstream press and the news media the ” fourth power ”, in recognition of your explicit capacity for citizen advocacy and engagement, particularly with respect to issues of political governance and state governance , “she said.
According to the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative, media professionals must seize the panoply of media to innovate, disseminate and inform communities about the risks of disasters the world faces.
” Fifth Estat’s social / online media have joined the ranks and are an essential tool to give to those who previously may not have a voice, a platform and an audience. Ensure that the essential communication infrastructure alerts the affected public, provide information to help communities prepare for a disaster, and provide accurate and up-to-date information on how and where to seek help in the event of a disaster. disaster, “she recommended
During this exchange with the press, several difficulties were noted, including access by journalists to credible sources of information, but also the need to pool efforts between the media and organizations involved in finding solutions for reduce the risk of disasters.
” The purpose of this session was: how to educate the media on this issue of risk and how to work with them so they can better alert vulnerable communities. Of course there is a need to build the capacity of journalists, I think all the mechanisms are there, and you just have to use them. And that’s what we’re trying to bring with other UN organizations , “said Brigitte Leoni, Communications Officer at United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR). ” We are all risk reducers, we must all contribute to improving people’s security and making countries more resilient against disasters .”
For Gregoire Ndjaka, Director General of the African Broadcasting Union (UAR), This working session showed what is being done in the field of disaster risk reduction and the new commitments the media must make to save the lives of communities.
” The phenomena we face today are new. Today, we should not be just journalists, but rather those who contribute to the development of policies to deal with this situation. Often when we talk about a journalist, it’s someone who plays a wait-and-see role, but we have to prevent these phenomena, “he said.
Note that several delegates from countries around the world are taking part since Monday in Geneva at the World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, which is scheduled to close on Friday 17 May 2019.
From Geneva, Alfred NTUMBA