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SAJA, IFJ Hold Workshop on Climate Change Reporting

by Stephen Jakes
09 Nov 2016 at 06:48hrs | Views
The Southern Africa Journalists Association (SAJA) in collaboration with the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and hosted by the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) held at two-day workshop on Climate Change Reporting from 3 - 4 November, in Harare, Zimbabwe, under the Union to Union Project (2014 -2016).

IFJ in a statement said the workshop which brought together 11 journalists from six countries in the region, namely Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, the Republic of South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe was aimed at building the capacities of journalists in the region to reporting more effectively on climate change issues.

In delivering the official opening address to the participants of the Workshop, the Acting Director of Rural Communications, Alois Chamboko, who spoke on behalf of the Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services, Dr. Mushohwe, said that climate change is a reality which cannot be second guessed by anyone as its adverse effects are being experienced by everyone. "Our sub- region is currently suffering from the worst drought in over 35 years as a result of the El Nino phenomenon". This therefore calls for urgent and comprehensive measures to be taken at all levels.

Journalists, he said, are a very important constituency in any country and to any society in general, because they are opinion drivers. "The role of journalists is not limited to pointing out the ills found in our societies, although that is important to ensure that corrective actions are taken". Climate change reporting is not about criticizing governments for not doing enough to curb gas emissions. "Journalists should help everybody, including governments by explaining what the challenges are and how they can be resolved. He emphasized that journalists play a crucial role in combating climate change.

SAJA President, Michael Chideme, in his address of welcome to the participants, said that despite the challenges that confront the regional association, SAJA, is very much committed in mobilizing its members in the fight against climate change. He called on journalists and the media in the southern African region, to give more focus to climate change in their reports, while emphasizing that these reports must be made in the local languages, most especially on radio and television and must address the issues of adaptation and mitigation.

The representative of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) at the Workshop, Nathan Banda in his intervention at the opening ceremony, said that in recent years forests have been cleared in preparation for agriculture, for fencing and for use as firewood mainly for tobacco curing and brick making. "It therefore remains our responsibility as trade unions and journalists to alert the nations about the disadvantages of deforestation and how it contributes to global warming and climate change.

In a similar vein, the Senior Programme Office at the IFJ Africa Office Pa Louis Thomasi, said that the African media can no longer remain silent when it has become evident that the consequences of climate change will affect more adversely the poorer and vulnerable regions of the world. It is in the light of these challenges, he said, that the IFJ has taken the bold initiative to build the capacities of journalists across the continent to report more effectively on climate change. The African media and journalists in particular must be able to play a significant role in the fight against climate change.

The training was conducted by the Director of the UNESCO Office in Namibia, Dr. Jean Pierre Ilboudo, who took the participants through three different models in reporting climate change with particular emphasis on; Why climate change matters to every journalists and the media; Radio as the most important medium for reporting climate change in Africa; The seven things that every journalists should know about climate change and the Twelve Tips for writing good climate change stories.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is the world's largest organisation of journalists. First established in 1926, it represents around 600,000 journalists in 179 unions and associations accross 140 countries worldwide. You can follow us on Twitter and Facebook and subscribe to our news updates.
Source - Byo24News