Climate Change Media Partnership

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Media Climate Change in Egypt: A continuous dialogue of the deaf

If the Mediterranean, along with the world's other seas, will rise between one and three feet by the end of the century, the ocean will flood vast coastal areas along the Nile Delta (Johnson, 2007). Richard Alley, a geo-sciences professor at Penn State University, says that even a minimal sea rise over the next century would have serious consequences for Egypt and could flood a quarter of the Delta, forcing about 10% of Egyptians to migrate from their homes.

Omran Frihy, a coastal researcher in Alexandria describes the change: "The sediment created a balance. Now the coastal processes are acting alone without sediments counteracting, and the balance has been changed." The different Egyptian media have marginalised and ignored the reality of "global warming", with a closer look at the social and political context in which the media operates, and a consideration of its functions, regulation and ownership helps to see through this paradox.

This global concern and need for action on climate issues contradicts the increasing levels of democratisation and opportunities for citizen participation in many parts of the developing world. However, this experience remains incomplete as a result of the media deficiency that has further escalated the differential knowledge crisis between individuals in higher and lower socio-economic strata (Saleh, 2010b).

This widening social differentiation of knowledge often favours the existing power relations, and it is one of the major obstacles for better communicating the challenges of climate change.

Mike Shanahan, the press officer for the London-based International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) explains: Journalists in developing countries often have a mountain to climb when trying to cover climate change. Even the most able journalists say they often face editors who don't understand climate change or think it is important to cover. (Fahn, 2008)

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