Wapena Forum: Journalists in Bali shifting the spotlight from disaster relief to disaster risk reduction
When it comes to disaster relief, journalists are quick to report from the frontline. Although this real-time disaster reporting is essential, more attention is needed to shed light on disaster risk reduction (DRR) efforts. In fact, timely and science-based information disseminated by the media can play a vital role in reducing disaster risks.
Early warning information, communicating public health risks, and sharing the latest government policy on an ongoing crisis are some of the ways the media can contribute to educating the public before and during a disaster.
To further strengthen the role of the media in DRR, the Bali DRR Forum, with support from SIAP SIAGA Program, established the ‘Forum Wartawan Peduli Bencana’ (Wapena) or a network of journalists who are keen to report on DRR issues.
“As a journalist, I believe our role is not only to report disasters or crises. We need to educate the public by sharing facts on what could be done to prevent disasters. As someone living in a disaster-prone area myself, I am eager to contribute to the Bali DRR Forum (FPRB) through what I do best: journalism,” said Nila Sofianty, a journalist working at Indobalinews.com who sits as Treasurer in the Forum.
Diyah Perwitosari, SIAP SIAGA Disaster Risk Management (DRM) Area Coordinator for Bali, shared that, “At SIAP SIAGA Program, we believe that DRR is everyone’s business and many journalists are keen to report DRR issues and further support any disaster management measures. In Bali, SIAP SIAGA Program contributes to capacity strengthening of the Provincial FPRB to ensure broader stakeholder engagement (primarily media and private sectors). By supporting the Wapena Forum in its efforts for disaster risk education, it is hoped that SIAP SIAGA Program can realize a formalized and strengthened pentahelix platform at the provincial and (selected) district level with clear commitment and resourcing.”
Since it was launched in 2020, the Wapena Forum and its network have organised and participated in several workshops showing their commitment in contributing to DRR issues in Bali. Amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Wapena Forum and its network initiated a series of information-sharing sessions with the government and private sector to discuss various topics related to DRR and pandemic recovery efforts.
The first Wapena information-sharing session ‘Pandemic Facts: Towards Bali Recovery’ was held on 26 July 2021. Moderated by Nila Safianty, the session brought together the BPBD Head of Operations (Kalaksa) I Made Rentin, Sanglah Hospital Director dr. I Wayan Sudana and the Bali Tourism Board Deputy Secretary Freddy. Speakers and participants discussed the need for strengthened coordination in the COVID-19 pandemic and the media’s important role in sharing fact-based reports on the gaps in essential services.
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