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Science, Policy and the Media: Reporting on REDD in IndonesiaSchool of International and Political Studies, Faculty of Arts and Education, Deakin University Melbourne, Australia
The research for this thesis was carried out as part of a global comparative study (GCS) of reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+), led by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). It used methodology developed in the Component 1 of the GCS analysing national REDD+ policies and processes. The author of the thesis looks closely at the media as a 'driver' of the policy process. The study contributes to a growing body of research into climate change, policy and the media. It is one of few such studies carried out in a developing country and one of even fewer which specifically looks at REDD. It captures a number of correlations with prevailing trends in media coverage of climate change around the world, especially in its focus on politics and policy making, and its reliance on political actors as primary definers of key issues. The paper raises familiar questions about power and cultural deference to authority; about the ability of the media to question the status quo and to distill complex, often politically driven, accounts; and about the ability of scientists to communicate their findings in a way that can encourage public participation in political discourse. Ultimately, the study indicates that trust and engagement between scientists and the media should be strengthened to avoid REDD policy discourse being controlled by a small number of powerful actors.