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Issues and Challenges of Media Reporting in the Energy Sector

WRI India, in collaboration with the Citizen Consumer and Civic Action Group (CAG) and the Press Institute of India, organised a seminar focusing on the issues and challenges that arise when reporting on energy governance on 31 August 2016 in Chennai. The seminar brought together a panel of experts in the sector and senior media personnel, to share insights on diverse topics such as the role of responsible reporting, energy access and clean energy, urban energy efficiency, and energy finance. Participants included journalism students, journalists, former state electricity board officials, news editors, non-profit organisations, and other interested stakeholders in the energy sector.

Bharat Jairaj, WRI India, kicked off the seminar by highlighting the importance of the media with regard to responsibly communicating developments in the energy sector. In the following session, K. Vishnu Mohan Rao, CAG, presented a detailed analysis of media reporting on various energy issues such as renewables, energy access, and energy tariffs.

B. Sivakumar, The Times of India, Chennai, noted that it is often difficult to obtain relevant data on account of government officials being tight-lipped. This is an ongoing issue that media personnel have to face even after building a rapport with their sources.

N.L. Rajah, Madras High Court, focused on energy law and how greater awareness is needed among the general public when it comes to energy governance.

Toine van Megen, Auroville Consulting, and Deepak Krishnan, WRI India, spoke on energy access and clean energy. They talked about emerging trends in the clean energy sector, and emphasised on the positive influence the media can play in the adoption of clean energy technology in the country.

Other speakers included Shivakumar, former Deputy Financial Controller, Tamil Nadu Electricity Board, and Muthusamy, former Director, Engineering, Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission, on Energy Finance and Tariff; and Sumedha, WRI India, on Urban Energy Efficiency. Sashi Nair, Director and Editor, Press Institute of India, moderated the seminar proceedings.

This event was part of a series, entitled Journalism with Impact: Building a Knowledge Base for Effective Energy Stories in the Media, focused on the clean energy discourse in India. The series, supported by the Swedish Postcode Lottery, is aimed at highlighting current issues in the energy sector at the state, national and global levels, and the role of the media in promoting clean energy. Previous events were hosted in Bangalore and New Delhi earlier this year.

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