PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology


Environmental reporting under duress
The Sri Lankan example

Nalaka J. Gunawardene   Rajagiriya, Sri Lanka

Enhanced public interest in environment and development in recent years has led to an increase in the mass media’s reporting on issues related to environmental conservation and sustainable development. The two processes have now become mutually reinforcing. At the same time, this heightened interest and emphasis on environment has thrust upon journalists certain dilemmas  and problems involving either professional ethics or socio-cultural values.

The merits of advocacy journalism on environment are sometimes questioned in the context of a developing country such as Sri Lanka,where the media is expected not only to inform, educate and entertain, but also support national development. Environmental and social considerations  often lead journalists to question the current models of development adopted by governments. There is no consensus on appropriate development models, but the proponents of prevailing models fault the media and NGOs for “attempting to block development.” The debate runs the  risk of coming to an either/or situation in relation to environment and development.

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.