French journalists commit to more responsible reporting on climate issues

More than 1,000 French journalists have signed a charter pledging to report responsibly on climate change issues, such as not using photos of beach fun to illustrate heat waves.

Loup Espargilière, founder of Vert.eco who launched the charter, said: “In June, during the first heat wave, we saw photos from a press agency of children playing in the water and they appeared in all media.

Read more: France is bracing for a week of warm weather with 30C expected in the southwest

“Frivolous Pictures”

“Using frivolous images to illustrate such a serious moment drives the reader away.”

Other points of the charter include: opposing the financing of polluting activities; search for solutions; and no longer limit ecology to a separate section but make it “a prism through which stories are approached”.

The idea for the charter, titled Improving Journalistic Practices to Address the Ecological Emergency, came in 2021 when the IPCC released its latest climate report. “At the same time, Lionel Messi joined PSG and this major document disappeared from the news,” Mr Espargiliere said.

In addition to journalists, unions and journalism schools, 70 media have registered, including The Connexion, Mediapart and France 24.

“We also have journalists from right-wing media and around-the-clock news networks who can use this to pressure newsrooms.”

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Teresa H. Sadler