Pacific Media Centre Pacific Media Watch Pacific Journalism Review Pacific Scoop

Newspaper coverage of climate change in Fiji: A content analysis

Volume 23, Issue 1

July, 2017

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Chand, S. (2017). Newspaper coverage of climate change in Fiji: A content analysis. Pacific Journalism Review, 23(1), 169-185. doi:10.24135/pjr.v23i1.310
Author(s): Sarika Chand
Publication date: 
July, 2017

Media plays a crucial role in the global fight against climate change, acting as a tool for awareness, advocacy and policy change. For Fiji, this role becomes even more essential with the country’s vulnerable island system facing the direct impact of current and future climate change threats. The primary aim of this study was to analyse climate change coverage in the Fiji press. The Fiji Times, Fiji’s national newspaper, was examined to identify trends in climate change coverage between January 2004 and December 2010. A quantitative analysis was initially carried out to see the volume of reports, followed by a qualitative look into the context and thematic values of the news reports. Empirical findings showed an increase in coverage over time, although there was a transiency in the high levels of coverage when looked at on a monthly basis. Published reports also show a trend of event-based reporting with more than 80 percent of articles being generated out of or following up on a climate change convention, meeting or report launch. An overall consensus on the scientific realities of climate change in the newspaper coverage, and relatively high coverage of impacts and threats of climate change highlighted the plight of the islands. Reporting of climate change issues needs to be prioritised if the press is to fulfill its role in providing timely information on climate change. Journalists training and collaboration with national stakeholders would assist in more effective climate change coverage instead of the great reliance on one-off events to spark recognition of the major environmental problem. Developments in the discourse since this research was conducted will be worth noting as climate change has continued to rise as one of the most salient global environmental issues of our time.