A Maldives cabinet meet on seabed, Nepal meet on Mt. Everest, and now a common global editorial on climate change . They are all geared to get world leaders meeting at Copenhagen to deliver, and not merely deliberate. The common editorial has been published on page one, of 56 newpapers from 45 countries in 20 different language. Notably, the only newspaper in India to carry the edit is The Hindu.
The Guardian of London that led this unique media initiative could not persuade any other paper in the UK . In the US the only English daily that published the edit is Miami Herald. The only other US paper to do so is in Spanish – El Nuevo. In fact, the response of one US paper to the initiative was : “This is an outrageous attempt to orchestrate media pressure. Go to hell.”
It took the Guardian leader writiers – Tom Clark and Julian Glover – three drafts, after much e-mail to-and-fro-ing among the participant editors to finalise the text. Reflecting on how the shared editorial project emerged Guardian’s Ian Katz wrote , ” Given that newspapers are inherently rivalrous, proud and disputatious, viewing the world through very different national and political prisms, the prospect of getting a sizeable cross-section of them to sign up to a single text on such a momentous and divisive issue seemed like a long shot “.
Ian acknowledged The Hindu was in on the project right from the start - ‘an early, enthusiastic, conversation with the editor of one of India’s biggest dailies offered encouragement’.
The media initiative may not alter policy positions held by most countries, notably, the major ones that already have their minds made up even before going to Copenhagen. What is notable is that the initaiive represents a measure of acceptance by the world media that there are issues that call for beyond-the-border thinking. Next, the progressives in the media ought to come up with a common edit on combating jihadi terrorism ; even if someone out there says, ‘go to hell’.