Media Colloquium: Shaping Public and Political Attitudes, Driving Sustainable Development

Day: 24rd February, 2023 | Friday
10:00 am – 11:00 IST | Click here for time in your location
Venue: Stein Auditorium, India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road, New Delhi

The Media in the Post-truth Era

In the age of social media, people get information from various sources, much of which is misinformation. The responsibility of media hence becomes more crucial, and the media fraternity needs to get out of the echo chamber and reach out to a wider audience to get the right information. In this way, enough people can then be mobilized to take actions towards sustainable development and put pressure on the politicians to do what needs to be done.

Role of Media

In terms of creating a perception regarding the calamitous turn climate change can take, the media and its ability to address millions has indeed played a pivotal part. From what was a fringe beat in most news media organisations until a little over a decade ago, climate change and sustainability has managed to get way more traction in newsprint as well as on the web and broadcast space in recent times. Dedicated websites and columns on climate are now an active presence. Annual flagship events focussing on climate change as well as on corrective action draw considerable media attention. The extensive reportage of real-time disasters, be it the cloudburst in Uttarakhand in 2021 or the Kerala floods in 2018 and the annual extreme rainfall events in Maharashtra by the Indian media has placed climate change in mainstream space.

The everyday experiences of climate change for the layperson—warmer summers, rising sea-levels and extreme weather scenarios over the past years—have led to greater awareness. This compounded with the media coverage across the globe of similarly devastating developments have contributed in no small measure to the public perception of climate change as a reality. Though the wider perception on climate has made the glacial move from denial to acceptance, climate action, and what it entails, largely continues to dwell in the realm of science and policy.

Key Issues

What role can the media and its wide-ranging communication tools play in making climate action an imperative measure? Unlike climate disasters, which are stories in themselves, climate action is more a continuing process, which in turn, calls for sustained investment in communication strategies and tools for the media. How can the social media space be used to lay emphasis on climate action? How do we make interventions such as mitigation and adaptation resonate with the public and subsequently in the local political milieu?

How does storytelling change gears when it has to be spurred by actions and interventions rather than a catastrophic event? In the larger context, communication on climate is hinged on a crucial turn. One part of the story, creating a broad narrative on the reality of climate change, is nearly accomplished. The other, on raising awareness and changing thought processes, for action, mitigation and intervention, demands a different lens to see, understand and communicate.

Do we focus on sectors of change and sustainability? Or on community interventions? Or stories of adaptation? The field is vast, the storylines multiple, the stakeholders different, and so too the communication tools they demand. Stories of the community radio, like TERI’s own Kumaon Vani, in creating an understanding of climate change and sustainability in the remote nooks of Mukhteshwar is merely one such example.

At this media colloquium, seasoned practitioners across realms of communications who have covered climate change disasters and the environment at large, discuss ways to shape dialogues on climate action in the public as well as political arena.

Key Questions (speakers are requested to address all/ at least two questions)

[1] In the context of a post-truth era, how can media and communications agencies shape public attitudes and drive sustainable development?

[2] What communications tools have proven to be effective in driving climate action? Are there any success stories?

[3] How does storytelling change gears when it has to be spurred by actions and interventions rather than a catastrophic event?

[4] How can media take a holistic view on raising issues at all levels—global, national, sub-national and local—on sectors of change, global commons, community interventions, and stories of adaptation?


The session will involve a chaired/ moderated discussion, which will start with brief remarks by the chair/ moderator followed by brief addresses/ statements by the speakers. After the addresses, depending on the remaining time, the chair will pose 1–2 questions to the esteemed speakers based on issues emerging from the addresses. The chair/ moderator will then sum up the discussions. The total length of the panel discussion is 60 minutes. The addresses should be in the form of verbal interventions only. The WSDS Secretariat requests speakers to avoid using power point presentations. Strict time management is to be followed, for which there will be a timer/ buzzer.


WSDS Secretariat

Centre for Sustainable
Development Research and Leadership,
The Energy & Resources Institute
6C, Darbari Seth Block, India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road
New Delhi - 110 003 India

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