The President of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) K. Abdullai Kamara has welcomed the environmental reporting training for Liberian journalists as a significant initiative that is poised to help society save itself from the devastation of climate change.
Speaking Wednesday at the opening of the training organized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in Buchanan City, Kamara lauded the training as a useful activity that will prepare journalists to professionally report on the environment, in supporting human survival and sustainable development.
The PUL President stated that “journalists are in the vanguard of informing and educating the public, and if they should do so in a professional way, they themselves must be adequately trained to understand the issues.”
According to a PUL release issued Wednesday, Kamara expressed the PUL’s pleasure in partnering with the EPA for the training, especially because specialized training is a pillar under the PUL strategic plan (2014-2016).
Kamara underscored the importance of the environment to national development and encouraged journalists to take keen “interest in this training which provides an opportunity for journalists to report for the betterment of our society.”
Kamara said even before the training, journalists had established themselves into groups such as WASH Journalist Network, Liberian Environmental Media Group (LEMAG), and the Journalists for the Protection of Nature, among others.
“This means that journalists themselves are in readiness to specialize, and the more they are trained in these sectors, the better they will report professionally and avoid ethical shortfalls, because they know what to report and who to contact.”
Delivering a keynote address as proxy of Information Minister Lewis Brown, the Director General of the Liberia News Agency (LINA), J. Nagbe Sloh, underscored the devastating effects of climate change and called for every serious effort to deal with environmental challenges in Liberia.
He scolded giant companies and concessions for the extent of environmental pollution, and challenged journalists to investigate and expose environmental abuses by these companies.
“Economic prosperity must not be at the detriment of our people,” Sloh warned. “The lives of our people are important and they must count first…”
Beaches and swathes of coastal lands including the once imposing Hotel Africa and the D. Tweh High School in Monrovia were being wiped away as a result of climate change, Sloh said.
When journalists are trained to specialize in reporting the environment, they will inform and educate the public on the global calamity, and the citizens will work along with government and relevant partners in curtailing the threat, the LINA Chief averred.
He however called on the PUL and EPA to go beyond the three-day workshop and instead fetch scholarships for journalists to study and specialize on reporting the environment. “Specialization is critical as it makes journalists analyze and make suggestions,” Sloh indicated. “Issues of climate change require news analysis.”
EPA officials said the Liberian media has captured little about the environment in their reporting, and that those who even attempt to report on environmental issues mix up the jargons because they are not familiar with them.
Mr. Benjamin S. Karmorh, Coordinator of Climate Change Enabling Activities, said the training will put journalists in the best position to not only adequately report environmental issues but to also do so very professionally.