PART III: HIV/AIDS and Global Health - G8 Guidebook

5.Media and Civil Society

  1. Overview
  2. Experience from the 2008 G8 Summit Process


Within the strategy for G8 advocacy, cooperation with the media should be taken as one of the priority activities. The government, bureaucrats and members of the Diet are directly linked to policy decisions. In contrast, the media is not directly linked to the policy decisions, however, the media is the only institution that can function at a macro level to connect the policy making sector with other sectors though information disbursement. Especially in topics pertaining to the G8 Summit, it is not an exaggeration to say that the media can regulate the trend or the focus on a certain issues, in a way that can sway the trend or focus of the policy-making sector.

Since 2000, the international media have been taken up global issues as one of central issues of the G8. Large numbers of U.S. and European media have been covering issues of poverty and development in developing countries such as global health issues as the major agenda item of the G8 Summit (although less than environmental issues such as climate change). The activities of Civil Society and the media have shaped the public opinion of G8 countries, and in turn, these public opinions have had a strong influence on the policy decisions or indecisions of the G8 country governments.

The media of the G8 contries holds a large influence on the policy direction of the G8 countries, thus it is important for civil society of G8 countries, to strengthen their cooperation with the media.

2Experience from the 2008 G8 Summit Process

The overall direction

Japanese media has traditionally taken a liking to the climate change issues, whereas poverty and development issues such as the Millennium Development Goals, and furthermore, global issues such as global health have taken the backseat in coverage. Furthermore, the coverage of international events had been low in their priority; especially regions such as Africa were amongst the lowest in priority for regions of coverage. Albeit, there are a number of dedicated journalists working to cover issues such as health and Africa, however, their hard work has not been sufficiently reflected within the bureaucracy of the dominant media companies.

However, media coverage on Africa and poverty and development issues has slightly increased since 2007, due to the fact that the 2008 Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV) took place in the same year that the G8 Summit was hosted by Japan. Furthermore, media interest in the activities of NGO has begun to increase as well. This has been especially true of the increasing attention given to the G8 NGO Forum, which was made up of over 100 NGOs working of issues ranging from development, environment and Human Rights. Beginning with the latter half of 2007, the G8 NGO Forum has held press conferences with major Japanese print media companies such as Asahi, Mainichi, Yomiuri and Sanakei to increase awareness and educate them on global issues such as poverty and development and issues related to Africa.

The press conferences not only strengthened Civil Society cooperation with interested journalists, but created some influence on high-level people with decisions making power over editiorial policies and article selection.

Lastly, throughout the Summit, media showed interest in the activities of NGOs at the International Media Center, leading to the coverage of statements and messages of NGOs in newspapers and television shows.

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