3rd World Water Forum Most Successful Water Meeting. Media Analysis Shows Global Reach

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(Kenzo Hiroki, Vice Secretary General of the 3rd World Water Forum, would like to invite Japanese journalists based in Washington D.C. to a one-hour briefing on the international media coverage of the Forum. The briefing will be held in the Lisagor Room at the National Press Building (13th Floor) at 2:00 p.m., Monday, December 8, 2003. Please call 703-820-2244 to confirm.)

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The 3rd World Water Forum, held in Japan from March 16-23 of 2003, attracted 24,000 participants and initiated a series of proposals and actions that could resolve the global water crisis. It was the largest and most successful international water conference in history.

A major requirement in the campaign to bring safe water and sanitation to everyone is that information on the Forum’s meetings, accomplishments and calls to action needed to reach as wide a global audience as possible.

By adding up the national and global reach of the hundreds of media outlets that broadcast and published stories on the water meeting, Forum officials estimate that some 1.5 billion people heard, saw and read about the global water crisis and its solutions. This would make the 3rd World Water Forum not only the largest water meeting ever assembled, but also the most widely known to the global public – probably more than most United Nations conferences.

“The analysis demonstrated that the Forum achieved its goals of making major strides in presenting and solving the global water crisis, and in getting the message of practical water solutions out to people across the planet,” says Kenzo Hiroki, Vice Secretary General of the 3rd World Water Forum.

“The hard work of the thousands of individuals, governments, NGOs and global organizations involved with the Forum led directly to the issue of the world water crisis being placed on the top agenda of the G8 summit, held this past June in Evian, France,” says Mr. Hiroki. “In fact, the G8 Chair’s Summary and the G8 Action Plans make several direct references to the need for joint actions on their part to follow up on the work of the 3rd World Water Forum.”

The World Water Forum process is relatively new phenomenon, and a detailed analysis of how and to what extent news of its undertakings have reached the public has never been carried out. Officials of the Secretariat of the 3rd World Water Forum, Japan, decided to perform the task and publish its findings in this report.

Under the auspices of the World Water Council (WWC) in collaboration with host country, a global water forum is held every three years to bring together water experts, governments, international organizations, NGOs (non-governmental organizations) and concerned individuals to discuss the global water crisis and to work out and test the best solutions.

The Forum assembled more than 5,500 newspaper and magazine clippings from around the world, although most were concentrated in ten countries in which the Forum contracted with clipping services. These 10 countries were Australia, Canada, China, Germany, France, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.

In addition, Forum interviews with television and radio producers and editors confirmed that international television and radio networks sent out their broadcasts to practically every nation on earth. In addition, the international wire news services such as Associated Press, Kyodo News and EFE, the Spanish news agency, send their stories to newspapers, radio and television stations, in their entirety (taking all international news services into account), to nearly every nation as well. From this global screening, Forum officials determined that a very conservative estimate would be that a minimum of 10,000 articles were published worldwide on Forum activities, in addition to several thousand television and radio broadcasts (including both local and national stations).

Forum officials randomly selected some 2,400 of the published news articles in six languages for a detailed content and statistical analysis in order to determine how widely news of the Forum was disseminated, and which themes attracted the most attention.

The highest percentage of articles were published in Japan with 59.2 percent. The articles published outside of Japan were published in countries shown in the graph below. Among them the highest percentage of articles were published in Germany with 27.9 percent, followed by France with 11.8 percent, USA with 10.3 percent, UK with 9.8 percent, and Spain with 5.4 percent.

The U.S.-Iraqi war broke out during the middle of the 3rd World Water Forum. Many journalists therefore sought out stories that linked the Forum and its main issues to the war. The general themes of the articles were distributed as follows: some 6.2 percent of storied focused on general themes, 5.2 percent around the Iraqi war, 4.7 percent on the Ministerial conference, 4.4 percent around the opening ceremony, 3.9 percent around the World Water Development Report, 3.8 percent around culture and 3.3 percent were focused on potable water problems and solutions.

The highest percentage of articles was published in Japan with 59.2 percent. Among them the highest percentage of articles were published in Germany with 27.9 percent, followed by France with 11.8 percent, USA with 10.3 percent, UK with 9.8 percent, and Spain with 5.4 percent.

Of the non-Japanese articles reviewed, the largest number of stories were published by SRI Media (Social Responsible Investing News Information) Terra Wire-Terra Daily (a web-based daily scientific and environmental newspaper), Asia Africa Intelligence (news service dedicated to coverage of stories of interest), Asia Africa Intelligence Wire (news service dedicated to coverage of stories of interest), the Associated Press, BBC World Radio, Agence France Presse and the African Church Religious Information Service.

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