The Great Barrier Reef: News media, policy and the politics of protection
Foxwell-Norton, K and Konkes, C, The Great Barrier Reef: News media, policy and the politics of protection, International Communication Gazette, 81, (3) pp. 211-234. ISSN 1748-0485 (2019) [Refereed Article]
Since the 1970s, the Reef has been a site where Australian environmental policy has flourished, mirroring global environmental policy seeking to ‘balance’ human activity through ‘ecologically sustainable development’. The article examines the parallel and intersecting processes of modern environmental policy and news media practice in the context of the Reef to unveil how Australia’s news media are communicating critical moments in the protection of the Reef. Through two key conservation moments – the 1981 World Heritage Listing and the 2012 threat to place the Reef on the List of World Heritage in Danger – the article examines the role of news media in different geographic contexts, highlighting the complex politics of protection from early conservation campaigns to the contemporary era of protecting the Reef in the context of global environmental crisis. We identify how ecologically sustainable development discourses can be used to communicate positions that challenge and discredit policy initiatives aimed at protecting natural environments.
ecologically sustainable development, ESD, environmental communication, environmental conflict, Great Barrier Reef, media, policy, World Heritage