Building peace in the minds of men and women

Covering disasters from a disaster risk reduction perspective in Myanmar

Myanmar’s most common types of hazards and disasters and how to report on such issues were discussed among national journalists at a recent disaster risk reduction training in Yangon, Myanmar on 28 March 2013.

Topics such as disaster risk reduction – what it is, how the media fit in, what are the best stories and media ethics and code of conduct in reporting were also addressed at this two-day "Towards a new approach to disasters from consequences to causes" event attended by journalists from 15 print and TV outlets.

A case study of Cyclone Nargis, one of the most devastating natural disasters ever recorded in the Asia-Pacific region in May 2008 and how the media could work together was also presented at the training. An estimated 146,000 lives lose at Cyclone Nargis. Some 3,761 schools were damaged in the Ayeyarwady and Yangon regions, leaving 360,000 children in affected areas without safe places to learn.
The training objective is to better media knowledge and skills in reporting about disaster risk reduction to best serve community needs.

Based on the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) media manual and UNESCO’s principles for journalism, the participants went through a series of exercises and discussions on professional, balanced, well-informed, and critical reporting before, during and after disasters to better profile disaster risk reduction issues in the news.

Journalists attending the training were also asked to write at least two stories on disaster risk reduction issues.

National media organizations play an important role in promoting national disaster risk reduction policies and programmes. To do so, they need to know what disaster risk reduction is about and to have established contacts with key disaster risk professionals who can provide them with accurate and timely information. In response to these needs, UNISDR, together with the support of UNESCO, co-organized this media seminar.