One-day Media Workshop on ‘Forests for Future and the Future of Forests: Create an Impact with your Reporting’, held at Shimla

09 March 2023

Media plays an important role in promoting people’s appreciation for Nature and Biodiversity

Glimpses from the Workshop [©Aashima Negi/GIZ]
Glimpses from the Workshop [©Aashima Negi/GIZ]

To ensure that life in the Himalayan region doesn’t get affected by forest depletion, the tapping of forests for various Forest Ecosystem Services such as water needs to be done in a way the forest health does not get negatively affected. Also, a new way of forest conservation is needed to ensure that we continue to benefit from the forest resources, but without damaging them. The answer to all these challenges lies in a simple conservation technique –Sustainable Forest Management. The understanding of how sustainable forest management impacts our lives, and the Society at large needs to be recognised.

A media workshop on how to increase quality reportage in Indian media about topics related to forest conservation was jointly convened by the Himachal Pradesh Forest Department (HPFD) and the Sustainable Management of Forest Ecosystem Services (FES) Project. The workshop was designed and delivered by the Centre for Development Management and Communication at MICA (CDMC-MICA). Representatives from different media houses in Himachal such as NDTV, DD News, ANI News, Divya Himachal, Punjab Kesari, News 18 and Channel 9 participated in the workshop. Participation of personnels from various local digital social media such as Himachal Abhi Abhi, Hill Post, A for Apple News and Khabar Now was also witnessed. Officials of the Forest Department from various divisions in H.P. narrated their extensive experiences of interacting with the media and shared their thoughts on how the current gap in media interaction can be overcome. During collaborative discussions with media professionals and the HPFD, ideas on how an awareness about this novel conservation cum natural resources management initiative, can be spread amongst the people living in H.P. were collated.

Team Leader, Sustainable Management of Forest Ecosystem Services Project, Dr. Sanjay Tomar welcomed the participants and stressed the importance of quality reportage for sustainable forest management.

Talking about the need for the support from media specifically and people in general for success of such initiatives, Deputy Conservator of Forest (DCF) Publicity, Mr. Raman Sharma shared his extensive experiences with respect to role of media in forest conservation.

Chair, Center for Development Management & Communication (CDMC) of MICA, Prof. Dr. Manisha Pathak-Shelat stressed the need of effective communication in developmental issues. She discussed the importance of balancing information with emotional connection.

Talking about how using effective reporting and storytelling to create awareness and to drive the message home, veteran journalist-editor, media expert and the key speaker of the workshop, Mr. Shyam Parekh harped on paying more attention to stories about conservation efforts while reporting news. He said, “If the news is presented in an interesting manner with a clear answer about ‘What’s in it for me’, the stories have a lasting impact and people develop interest in the subject however remote it might be for them.

The workshop was successfully concluded as a sensitisation point for regular and healthy interactions of the Forest Department with the media. As the way forward, training on media management and a media action plan to better define the role of the department and media professionals in information sharing and dissemination were shared.

Link to further materials

Ravindra Singh — Programmer Director
Indo-German Biodiversity Programme

Sanjay Tomar — Team Leader
Sustainable Management of Forest Ecosystem Services Project

Key buzzwords
media workshop, quality reportage, sustainable forest management, Himachal Pradesh