Director of Thai PBS Mr Somchai Suwanban (second left) receives the award from Ms Margareta Wahlström (left), with Ms Darin Klong-ugkara and Dr Seree Supratid joining the presentation. (Photo: UNISDR)
By Andy McElroy
BANGKOK, 25 June 2014
– Every Saturday afternoon at 5pm, up to 10 million people tune into what is probably the world’s most popular television programme on disaster risk reduction.
And today at the 6th Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction the Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS) was recognized for its weekly 25-minute slot “Fight Disaster’ that has catapulted it into the role of global leader in media education and awareness raising.
In front of several journalists from around Asia Pacific, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, Ms Margareta Wahlström, presented the broadcaster with the inaugural DRR Media Award.
“You provide a clear example that if journalists provide credible information that is fact-based people will engage with you and accept learning,” Ms Wahlström said.
“Since 2005, UNISDR (the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction) has been training and helping more than 200 journalists all over the world. And we can see the difference: More media now understand and capture the complexity of disaster risk reduction, which is an issue beyond just reporting on the response of disasters.”
Receiving the award, a delighted Director of Thai PBS Mr Somchai Suwanban, said: “We are committed to this area and will report before, during and after disasters.”
News Editor and TV anchor of Thai PBS, Ms Darin Klong-ugkara said the station would continue its efforts to support community resilience. “We believe our programme helps people prepare for disasters and we intend to do more of this in the future.”
Ms Klong-ugkara co-presents the programme along with Dr Seree Supratid, Director of the Climate Change and Disaster Centre, at Thailand’s Rangsit University.
Among the other notable journalists present were representatives from the Philippines Inquirer, Myanmar Times, Viet Nam TV, Times of India, Jakarta Post, and Nepal News Agency. Together they watched a segment from a recent broadcast of the programme.
Thai PBS’ ‘Fight Disaster’ edition started after the 2011 floods in Thailand, which shocked the country and affected the capital Bangkok and several other areas.