News 5 Belize: Journalism’s vital role in tackling the climate crisis 

3rd May 2024
On the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day, Hipolito Novelo of News 5 Belize writes about how, more than ever, they are advocating for press freedom and the planet. 

By Hipolito Novelo, Journalist & Digital Content Creator, News 5 Belize

As we mark World Press Freedom Day under the theme ‘A Press for the Planet: Journalism in the Face of the Environmental Crisis,’ here at News 5 Belize, our dedication to covering climate change and environmental stories is deeply ingrained. We understand the vital role of journalism in addressing urgent issues. We are the voice for the voiceless. We are the watchdogs of democracy, equity, and transparency. We have a duty to the public we serve. 

Read more: PSM & climate change: Covering the crisis

Our approach to reporting on climate change and environmental stories is rooted in accuracy, responsibility, and the safety of our journalists. We have realised the importance of climate reporting and our role in raising awareness and properly educating the Belizean public. 

The News Five team prioritises the well-being of reporters covering environmental crises. Though the risks are minimal and very few, we ensure that potential risks are considered in the planning process. Our journalists are constantly engaged in training and capacity building throughout the year to better equip themselves with the skills and knowledge necessary to report on the climate crisis. 

Accuracy is paramount in our reporting. We conduct fact-checking. Our journalists are constantly in communication with experts. We present a balanced view of these issues. We understand the difference between climate reporting and climate activism. Our aim is to inform and educate while upholding journalistic integrity. 

The public trusts us with the information we share with them. We do not take that trust lightly, which is why quality climate reporting is paramount.

As we witness the impacts of climate change firsthand, our coverage goes beyond the headlines, beyond the figures. We must make the people care. We humanise the story by spotlighting local perspectives, amplifying marginalised voices such as people with diverse abilities, the LGBTQ+ community, and women and children, and showcasing innovative solutions to combat environmental degradation. By highlighting the environmental, social, and economic implications, our news items empower individuals and communities in Belize to make informed decisions and take meaningful actions to address local climate challenges. 

Investigative reporting is also crucial to what we do. Environmental injustices must be exposed. We invest in in-depth investigations that expose corruption, misconduct, questionable practices, and policies harmful to the environment. The public trusts us with the information we share with them. We do not take that trust lightly, which is why quality climate reporting is paramount. It contributes to the development of effective climate policies and initiatives tailored to Belize’s specific needs and challenges. 

Collaboration with global partners enhances our understanding of environmental challenges. By sharing resources and insights, we contribute to a holistic view of these interconnected issues. 

We are probably one of the smallest newsrooms in the region. They say journalism is an unforgiving career. It’s not an 8-to-5 office job. News is always happening. This means we are always working. We don’t do it for money or fame. We do it because we love it. If we hadn’t, we would have been in another field. 

This is why, on this World Press Freedom Day, News 5 Belize remains steadfast in advocating for press freedom and the planet. 

About the author

Hipolito Novelo is a Journalist and Digital Content Creator for News 5 Belize.

Our thanks to Hipolito for providing this Insight.