25 Apr 2014 12:50pm
WALVIS BAY, 25 APR (NAMPA) - Journalists can only effectively and factually report on marine and coastal environmental matters if they are well trained on environmental issues, says the Environmental Commissioner Theofilus Nghitila.
He said this here on Thursday in a speech read on his behalf by Chief Conservation Scientist in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism Ndapanda Kanime during the opening of a two-day training session on marine and coastal environment reporting for local journalists.
Nghitila said training will enlighten journalists on the challenges facing Namibias marine and coastal environment, citing challenges such as the lack of developing tourism facilities and recreational activities.
Other challenges include off-road driving, sand boarding and camping, which according to Nghitila, pose a threat to Namibias biodiversity as it destroys natural habitats such as bird nests and some important plants and vegetation.
Speaking at the same occasion, the Environmental Investment Fund (EIF)s Head of Communications and Corporate Affairs, Lazaurus Nafidi said although the fund does not yet have a budget to fulfil its mandate, journalism training is a priority.
Environmental journalism in Namibia is not where it should be compared to other countries in Africa. We at the EIF want to start something new, not only to provide training opportunities but to create a network for journalists to make a bigger impact on environmental issues, he noted.
Nafidi highlighted that environmental journalism can be a daunting career at times, but the passion for the environment and wildlife protection is what motivates environmental journalists to find a story and pursue it.
The facilitator of the training, Absalom Shiwedha, who is a freelance environmental journalist, emphasised that the media can play a significant role in generating public debate about green issues and solutions.
The aim of the training is to familiarise local journalists with international legal instruments concerning the protection of the sea/oceans; insight into science of the marine and coastal environment as well as ocean governance; enhance journalists news-gathering, writing and broadcast skills with the focus on the marine and coastal environment; and educate journalists on the key provisions of Namibia Coastal Management Policy.
About 10 journalists are attending the training, and represent the New Era, Die Republikein, The Namibian newspapers, Namibia Press Agency (Nampa), Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) and local freelancers.
The training ends on Friday.