The Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) in collaboration with the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) under the Union to Union Project (2017) held a two – day workshop on Climate Change Reporting; Environmental Issues that affect Sierra Leone on 14 December, in Freetown, Sierra Leone.
The workshop brought together 15 journalists from the capital Freetown and other regions to build their capacities to report more effectively on climate change.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, SLAJ President Kelvin Lewis said that climate change constitutez a very serious challenge to Sierra Leone and the world in particular and the media must join forces with other stakeholders in the global battle against climate change. “The recent mudslide in Freetown, which claimed over 500 hundred lives, he said, has definitely something to do with climate change coupled with the devastating human activity of disregarding the environment by cutting down trees, dumping garbage into the water ways there by blocking them and clearing of all the vegetation surrounding the hills."
Lead trainers at the workshop, Harold Williams and Stephen Douglas, noted that in Sierra Leone a significant percentage of the damage done to the environment is largely a result of human activity.
Williams emphasized that the forest cover in Sierra Leone had been seriously depleted over the past two decades. If this trend continues he said, the remaining forest cover will disappear sooner that expected. He told journalists that they should be able to hold the government of Sierra Leone accountable for the lack of implementation of the policies that they developed and other international conventions that they signed with regards to the protection of the environment.
The Acting Director of the IFJ Africa Regional Office, Louis Tomasi, said that the African media has lagged behind in reporting effectively on climate change and creating the desired impact that is necessary in enhancing behavioural change on the side of the citizenry. “The African media has without doubt seriously under reported the issues of climate change, despite the colossal damage that the consequences of climate change had heaped on the continent most especially in the agricultural sector, where it has continued to damage the livelihood of the majority of citizens in the continent.”
For more Information, please contact the IFJ - Africa Office
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