Climate change journalism in South Africa misses the mark by ignoring people’s daily experiences by Enock Sithole

Reviewed by Sikelelwa Mfundisi

Due to its extensive consequences, climate change is a worldwide issue that has attracted a lot of attention lately. Numerous environmental, social, and economic issues are emerging because of the continuous increase in world average temperatures, which is mostly due to human activity. This article addresses the flaws in the media’s coverage of climate change in South Africa and emphasises the possible repercussions of this underreporting. After conducting an analysis of the country’s media coverage on climate change, the writers came up with several major themes.

According to the article, important events like conferences, natural catastrophes, and the publication of scholarly articles are frequently used by South African media to report on climate change. The disregard of ongoing climate-related concerns, such as mitigation and adaptation efforts, might result from this restricted focus on episodic disasters.

Because it doesn’t make a connection between climate concerns and people’s everyday lives, the author contends that present media coverage of climate change may fall flat with the general population. This may convey the idea that climate change is more of an issue for the wealthy or faraway than it is for regular people.

The article draws attention to the fact that South African media gave several significant climate-related reports, such the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report, little coverage. In contrast, international media sources extensively reported similar reports.

According to the study, international news networks are frequently used by South African media to report on climate change. This might establish a psychological barrier between the audience and the subject and give the impression that climate change is not a local problem.

The article asserts that South African media mostly covers climate change in the context of catastrophes, despite the importance of reporting on climate disasters. The study’s interviewees made the case that there ought to be more continuing coverage to inform and educate communities about adaption strategies.

Some respondents brought up the fact that papers about climate change are frequently published online and protected by paywalls, preventing general public access. This may be a concern, especially for the most in need of this information disadvantaged groups.

The essay also emphasises how important parties like the government and institutions influence media coverage. In-depth media coverage of the climate catastrophe may result from increased communication among various stakeholders, according to interviewees.

In general, the essay examines how the media portrays climate change in South Africa and how it may influence public opinion and behaviour. There is a need for continuous coverage and communication from all stakeholders, as well as for more thorough and understandable reporting that connects climate concerns to everyday life.

Reference list

Daniel Pn. (2023). How to Write an Article Review: Full Guide with Examples | EssayPro. [online] Available at: [27 Sept 2023]

Sithole, E. (2023). Climate change journalism in South Africa misses the mark by ignoring people’s daily experiences.  The Conversation. Available at: [27 Sept 2023]

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