How the media help putting sustainability on the agenda

Sustainable Development Goal(s): 16. Peace, justice & strong institutions

Priorities for change:
How the media help putting sustainability on the agenda

Climate change and other sustainability issues are daily news topics since the Climate Summit in Paris. Whether they are aiming at the general public or niches, the media are increasingly sharing stories of positive alternatives for the biggest challenges facing society. Below you will find a brief overview of some key players in and outside our network raising awareness of sustainability in a well-informed manner.

Belgium has risen from 15th to 13th place on the World Press Freedom Index 2016, released in May by NGO Reporters Sans Frontières. This is partly thanks to the efforts of our authorities to stimulate the diversity and critical eye of our media. Thus, the Federal Council for Sustainable Development (Federale Raad voor Duurzame Ontwikkeling - FRDO) annually presents the 'FRDO press award for sustainable development'. In this way, the authority wants to reward journalism that is well-structured both formally and in terms of content and which puts the sustainable development issue on the agenda. The award goes alternately to the written press (newspapers, periodical press, internet publications) and to the audiovisual media (television, radio, video). This year it was awarded on April 25 to 6 winners. Amongst others, the campaign ‘Le climat et moi’ (‘The climate and me’) by the French-speaking broadcaster RTBF and ’De week van de hernieuwbare energie’ (‘Renewable energy week’) by the Radio 2 programme ‘De Inspecteurs’ were praised for the enthusiasm with which they place the climate issue on the agenda. You can see all the winners of the FRDO Press Award 2016 via the following link.

VRT and RTBF engage with future generations

Our public broadcasters’ focus on the climate is not a one-off event. According to their mission, both want to strengthen society by informing, inspiring and connecting people. They are trying to realise this sound ambition through their programming in the first instance. Thus, the radio station MNM is collaborating with Generation WHAT?, a youth survey in which young people from all over Europe make their voices heard about the societal issues they consider important. In addition, Ketnet (a public children's television channel of VRT) and Unicef are joining forces to make children aware of the development targets of the UN. Ketnetters are given assignments dealing with these targets via the adventure programme De Geonauten (The Geonauts). In a playful manner, they find out about the problems faced by children in other countries and how these problems can be overcome.

On the French-speaking side, the RTBF programme Alors on change gives people who want to make positive changes in our world their say. Among other things, there are portraits of sustainable farmers, climate activists and alternative consumers as well as reports about topics such as sustainable mobility, civil disobedience or social entrepreneurship.


Since 2014 the MOOOV film festival has been organising a pitch event for filmmakers of committed documentaries. On 22 April a number of documentary makers came together in Turnhout to present their projects to a NGO's and companies interested in collaboration. In the evening there was also a screening of the film Samuel in the Clouds, a co-production for which the links were forged in the first edition of GOOD MOOOV.

Investigative journalism concerning global conflicts and financial fraud

For in-depth journalism about the greatest challenges facing society, you can also consult MO*. The paper and online magazine has already been producing front-row reports about development cooperation and international politics for years. Since 2015 they have been collaborating on the uncovering of global tax evasion via an international investigative platform. Below you will find the files at a glance:

Would you like to know more about the different ways in which sustainability can be reported on? The following link provides an overview of all the member organisations active in media and reporting.