A 2008 research conducted during global negotiations leading up to the 2009 United Nations Conference in Copenhagen on climate change, revealed that Ghanaian media were not interested on the subject as compared to Norway and China.
While the few which were published by the Ghanaian media came from foreign sources, the media in China and Norway sourced their information principally from local scientific and academic community, government, businesses and non-governmental organisations.
Dr Audrey Gadzekpo, Researcher and Communication Expert, revealed on Monday at a roundtable organised by the United States Embassy in Accra.
The forum, which was organised for environmental reporters, focused on the sidelines of the United Nations Climate Change Conference being held in Cancun, Mexico from November 29 to December 10.
Dr Gadzekpo, who is also a Senior Lecturer at School of Communications Studies, University of Ghana, Legon, said the 2008 research was part of a close collaboration between three core research teams from Ghana, Norway and China, who were also members of an international group of scholars and senior researchers called ‘Ceres 21.’
“As part of the Ceres 21 quest to identify cultural, political and economic sources of the main problems bedeviling creative adaptation to the climate challenge, the group did an in-depth study of media coverage of climate change in Norway, China and Ghana,” she said.
Dr Gadzekpo said the research team felt that an analysis of national variations in the reporting of climate change would yield insights into the nature and quality of journalism on the subject and reveal important information about the differing national policy frames adopted by countries.
She expressed dismay that majority of the publications on climate change for Ghana and China were from official press releases and other routine contents including conference speeches.
Dr Gadzekpo said “Norway was the only country where significant numbers of journalists were seen to take reporting initiatives which unearthed other angles on the climate change issue than those of officialdom and businesses.”
She blamed the poor coverage of climate change issue in Ghana on scarce environmental media specialists and reporters stressing that it was unlikely that climate change agenda would become widely known in the country.
Professor Chris Gordon, Senior Lecturer at the Institute for Environment and Sanitation Studies of University of Ghana, Legon, cautioned that if steps were not taken to adapt to climate change, Ghana could lose about 2.6 per cent to 5.4 per cent of her economic growth by 2030.
“By 2080, Ghana cannot grow cocoa in commercial quantities and that would have a serious socio-economic implication,” he said.