REDD+ politics in the media: a case from Nepal

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This paper analyzes public discourse on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) as it is portrayed in the media and examines how this influences effective and equitable outcomes of REDD+ in Nepal. It draws on analysis of articles in three national newspapers and interviews with radio and newspaper journalists, governmental and non-governmental stakeholders, and technical experts. Findings show that REDD+ coverage has been limited in the Nepalese print media and overall reporting on REDD+ has declined over time. The discourse is currently dominated by a small number of experts and development project implementers who portray REDD+ optimistically as an opportunity to benefit from carbon markets, while contributing to sustainable forest management. There was limited representation of the interests and concerns of marginalized groups and local communities in the public debate, thus underplaying the complexities and challenges of REDD+ development and implementation in Nepal. While the absence of debate on potential negative impacts can be explained partly by the dominance of optimistic voices in the media, it was also attributed to journalists' limited access to independent knowledge and understanding of the issue. The resulting lack of balanced information in the public domain could undermine both the effectiveness of REDD+ implementation and its equitable outcome.

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