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Sierra Leone News: Reporting on climate change is essential

The African media has under-reported the issue of climate change even though the continent continues to suffer climate-related problems. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and affiliate, the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) hosted a two-day training for journalists on climate change reporting. The training started yesterday Wednesday 13 December 2017 at the Association’s Headquarters Harry Yansaneh Hall along Campbell Street in Freetown.
The President of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) Kelvin Lewis thanked IFJ for partnering with them in organizing the training. “Its another step for SLAJ to promote specialized reporting with specialized training.”
Lewis said they are concerned about climate change and want to train reporters who have expressed interest in reporting on climate change and the symptoms of climate change. He said they are expecting the journalists to be part of the movement of becoming professionals in reporting climate issues rather than being an ‘all rounder.’
He revealed that the IFJ team was impressed with performance of Kindama Dumbuya, when he attended a climate change ‘training of trainer’ workshop in Senegal where his presentation and contributions attracted the federation to extend their training facilities in this part of the world.
The Acting Director of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) Pa Louis Thomasi said climate change remains a huge challenge to most countries around the world particularly African countries who are the hardest hit by the effects. He said over the years various measures have been taken globally to curb the effects of climate change most especially with regards to the emission of green house gasses as well as sharing knowledge and experience.
Thomasi said in Africa the media has lagged behind in reporting effectively on climate change and creating the desired impact that is necessary in enhancing behaviour change on the side of the citizenry. He said the climate change project has two major components of ‘Freedom of Association and Labour Rights and Climate Change Reporting which developed out of the fact that in 2013 they were of the view that African Journalists and the media in general have not been able to respond effectively in global battle against climate change.
The Acting Director said in July 2014, under the UTU Project, they organized an International Conference on ‘The Media and Climate Change’ in Nairobi aiming at strategizing on how to will build the capacities of African Journalists to report effectively on climate change. He revealed that very few journalists report on climate change across the continent among the few there is great difficulty in understanding the concepts, and a deficit in skills in actually being able to highlight the effects of climate change.
Thomasi said it was based of these perceptions that they are training journalists across Africa in order to build their capacities in reporting climate change following the Nairobi Continental Conference recommendations that led to regional training workshops between 2014 for East Africa journalists, to 2015 for West and Central Africa journalists, while in 2015 training for journalists in the Southern part of continent was organized.
He warned that, “Africa, as a continent, face greater risk that any other continent with regards to climate change even though Africa emits less pollution than any other region in the world.” He encouraged African media to play a major role in creating awareness on climate change.
By Mohamed Kabba
Twitter: @chikakabba
Thursday December 14, 2017

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