Forest Policy: Media influence on debate


Climatic Change (2017)

Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) is an important instrument for mitigating climate change, particularly in forest-rich countries like Brazil. Mainstream media plays a critical role in how contested policies involving diverse stakeholders such as REDD+ are defined and the levels of support they receive.

Maria Fernanda Gebara from the Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and co-authors studied the national printed media coverage of REDD+ in Brazil over two periods (2005–2009 and 2010–2011) in order to understand how media framing contributed to the policy debates.

The analysis shows several elements that shaped the discussions around REDD+ such as conflicts between the single Brazilian states and the federal government, with different views about how to finance REDD+. Also, the attitude in the media discourse changed over time: news became less optimistic about REDD+ once it became evident for actors represented by the media that implementation would be complex and expensive. Finally, the theme of fairness in the distribution of resources appeared more often, likely due to a greater involvement of indigenous actors in the political discussion.