19 November 2010
Kazakhstan’s glaciers are retreating, its agricultural land is being depleted, its diverse animal and plant life under threat.How can TV journalists convince sceptical editors to let them cover these important environmental issues? And then make them interesting to TV audiences who prefer to watch crime, sports and celebrity news?
That’s the challenge in a five-day workshop held at the Kazakhstan Institute of Management, Economics and Strategic Research (KIMEP) in Almaty on reporting on environmental sustainability issues. As participant Zhidegul Abdezhedelkyzy put it: “TV channels do not take into account the functions of development and education. They basically reflect only ministry orders, national questionnaires. I believe that environmental education should be the mission of the channels. After the seminar, I would like to prepare an environmental television magazine for the KazNU TV school."
Participants began the workshop by brainstorming on key environmental issues facing the country, and completed exercises on sources of environmental data, statistical analysis, visual storyboarding and information graphics. National experts presented current scientific research and gave interviews on three key issues—climate change and the melting of glaciers, the degradation of agricultural land and biobiversity.
Working in groups, the participants will shoot footage and do interviews on these issues at three locations—Chimbulak mountain skiing base, a UNDP pilot agricultural project, and Almaty National Park. They will conduct additional research and edit the stories for broadcast and webcast.
Trainer David Mould, Professor of Media Arts and Studies at Ohio University (U.S.A), stressed that covering the environment is not only about the endangered and the exotic—the so-called “polar bear frame”. Every environmental story involves politics and policy making, and many are directly linked to poverty, economic development, health and other development sectors.
Creating programs on environmental issues on TV Sairam in southern Kazakhstan raises a number of complex issues related to business, politics and public health. These issues need to be answered at the seminar," said Yermek Kabylbekov, employee of TV Sairam, Kazakhstan.
The goal of the workshop is to improve the ability of TV journalists in Kazakhstan to conduct research and analysis and present balanced, contextualized coverage of environmental issues and their human impacts.
The workshop is sponsored by the Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development (AIBD) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and UNESCO's International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) with local arrangements by the Central Asia Regional Environmental Centre (CAREC).