March 20, 2015 By Victoria Saffa
In a bid to have accurate reporting on environmental issues, the Environmental Protection Agency-Sierra Leone (EPA-SL), in collaboration with Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ), yesterday conducted a one-day training for over twenty-five print and broadcast journalists on reporting natural resources, climate change and sustainable development.
Giving the purpose of the training, acting Director of EPA-SL and Deputy Director of Climate Change, Momodu Al-Rashid Bah, said the training for journalists was to understand the mandates and responsibilities of reporting on issues relating to natural resources, climate change and sustainable development.
He said journalists have an opportunity to raise awareness about climate change, adding that they help government raise awareness on climate change and how to manage the environment as a sustainable development goal.
Bah further explained that the vision of EPA was to be a vibrant environmental management agency, achieve a sustainable future for Sierra Leoneans and to effectively protect and sustainably manage the environment and its natural resources.
A representative of the Executive Chairperson of EPA-SL, who is acting Director of Trade, Charles M. Thompson, told participants the training was to facilitate and enhance good media coverage on natural resources management, climate change and sustainable development.
He said journalists have the responsibility to protect the country’s environment and to educate people on the effect of climate change, and the sustenance of natural resources and sustainable development.
He explained that during the rainy season, water pollution and flooding greatly affect Sierra Leoneans, adding that journalists have the mandate to rebrand the national policy on natural resources management and climate change.
Giving a presentation on environmental reporting and challenges, lecturer at the Mass Communication, Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone, Francis Sowa, said news coverage on the environment has a significant impact on public opinion and policy making.
He said environmental journalism is the collection, verification, production, distribution and exhibition of information regarding current events and issues, noting that journalists should always put stories in their correct context and content.