Mr. J. Nagbe Sloh, Director General of the Liberia News Agency (LINA), has scolded giant companies and concessions for the extent of pollution they have caused and challenged journalists to investigate and expose environmental abuses by these companies.
“Economic prosperity must not be to the detriment of our people,” Sloh warned. “The lives of our people are important and they must count first…”
Delivering a keynote address on environmental reporting as proxy of Information Minister Lewis Brown, Sloh, underscored the devastating effects of climate change and called for every serious effort to deal with environmental challenges in Liberia.
Mr. Sloh was speaking Wednesday in Buchanan City at the opening of a training workshop on environmental reporting for Liberian journalists organized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
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 maintained.
He however, called on the PUL and EPA to go beyond the three-day workshop and find scholarships for journalists to study and specialize in reporting on the environment. “Specialization is critical as it makes journalists analyze and make suggestions,” Sloh indicated, adding that “issues of climate change require news analysis.”
EPA officials say 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 verbiage because they are not familiar with environmental expressions.
The PUL president K. Abdullai Kamara, in his remarks, said he welcomed the environmental reporting instruction for Liberian journalists as a significant initiative that will prepare them to report professionally on the environment and thereby support 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 yesterday, 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).
Even before the training, he said, 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.”
.Mr. Benjamin S. Karmorh, Coordinator of Climate Change Enabling Activities, said the training will enable journalists to report effectively on environmental issues and do so professionally.