PANAS! Climate Change Stories in Malaysia

PANAS! Climate Change Stories in Malaysia’ project 2021

Science Media Centre (SMC) Malaysia, in collaboration with British High Commission Kuala Lumpur and EcoKnights, recently launched the ‘PANAS! Climate Change Stories in Malaysia’ project which invites Malaysian journalists, writers and content creators to produce local Malaysian stories on climate change.

BACKGROUND: In the face of climate change, journalists play a major role to help accelerate climate action through advocacy and education. For most vulnerable countries, including Malaysia, the 1.5ºC warming limit reported in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is crucial as it requires major and immediate transformation. The role of the media in highlighting the impacts of 1.5ºC global warming on natural and human systems will support stakeholders and policymakers address climate change. This is done by providing local statistics, engaging stories and reliable evidence to affect change at a higher level. However, the potential of journalists still remains largely untapped. 

In Malaysia, the main stories covered are often the intersection of climate change and natural disasters. The lack of understanding of climate science and its technicalities also attributes to the inability of journalists to link climate impacts to the public, as well as relating climate change coverage to high-level climate policies such as reports by UNFCCC, including the IPCC. As a result, these topics are reported only at the surface level which lacks in-depth analysis and reflection. The lack of reliable and trustworthy sources for interviews such as climate scientists and experts also results in repeated, one-sided viewpoints. While the nature of Malaysian media coverage tends to be reactive, when empowered, it has the potential to take on a more proactive role to inform, inspire and encourage all stakeholders to take action toward reducing the impacts of climate change.

READ THE IPCC REPORT HERE

SMC received 33 pitches from Malaysian journalists, writers and content creators across a range of organisations and independent professionals. The selection panel was impressed by the high standard of proposals, and have shortlisted 10 pitches for further development into the final project.

The applications were assessed by the PANAS! project team comprised of Tan Su Lin, co-founder of SMC Malaysia and the project lead of PANAS! Project; sustainability and climate change expert, Dr Renard Siew; co-founder and editor of Macaranga, Dr Law Yao Hua; co-founder and chairperson of Klima Action Malaysia (KAMY), Ili Nadiah Dzulfakar and creative producer and curator, Kevin Bathman.

Ten successful pitches will receive RM500 each to produce a 500 to 700-word non-fiction local story, responding to the IPCC report. The successful pitches are listed below:

ENGLISH-MEDIUM
Nimalaruban Poovanendira Raj (Kuala Lumpur)
Nicole Fong Wen Shan (Selangor)
Poorani A/P Kannan (Penang)
Ashley Yeong Hui Jin (Selangor)

BM-MEDIUM
Sunesha Munisamy (Selangor)
Nur Hazwani Abdul Bahar (Kuala Lumpur)

TAMIL-MEDIUM
Rekha Sevaloganathan (Kuala Lumpur)
Elanggo A/L Munian (Selangor)

CHINESE-MEDIUM
Lim Ann Gee (Pahang)

Funded by the British High Commission Kuala Lumpur and supported by EcoKnights as part of the ‘Communicating Science for Climate Action’ project, Science Media Centre (SMC) Malaysia would like to thank those who sent in their pitches for PANAS! Climate Change Stories in Malaysia.

As part of the PANAS! project, SMC is hosting a media workshop on climate reporting this Saturday, 13 March 2021 at 10am. Everyone is welcome to register and join this FREE workshop!

Why join this workshop?

  • Learn from experts on how to write, report and create content effectively on climate change topics including fact-checking data, evidence-based reporting and considerations when reporting on climate change stories
  • Let our experts break it down to you what is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report and why is it important
  • Learn and discuss the challenges faced by the media communities in the current climate change reporting in Malaysia
  • Be part of a network of climate journalists, writers and content creators who are passionate about climate change and climate action

Following the creation of these new stories, SMC will be producing a digital tool kit targeted at the local media industry, journalists, writers and content creators on writing content addressing the issue of climate change, common myths and misconceptions of climate change including a glossary of local climate action initiatives in Malaysia.

PANAS! Climate Change Stories in Malaysia is funded by the British High Commission Kuala Lumpur and supported by EcoKnights as part of the ‘Communicating Science for Climate Action’ project. PANAS! team members include sustainability and climate change expert, Dr Renard Siew; co-founder and editor of Macaranga, Dr Law Yao Hua; co-founder and chairperson of Klima Action Malaysia (KAMY), Ili Nadiah Dzulfakar; and creative producer, Kevin Bathman. The team is led by Tan Su Lin, co-founder of SMC Malaysia.


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In Malaysia, science-related topics often take a backseat in the local mainstream media platform. It’s time to put science on the forefront by helping us to help our scientific community to thrive, including increasing the numbers of science journalists in this country.

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