Monday, March 17, 2014

Journalists’ leader attributes ‘little reporting' on environment to low capacity

Participants and facilitators pose after opening ceremony (Photo Credit:BAJ-Gambia/March2014)
President of The Gambia Press Union, Bai Emil Touray, has said “capacity on environment issues is at low ebb since there are little reports on environmental issues on [local] radio stations and newspapers.”

The protection of the environment is a collective responsibility - especially for journalists, Mr Touray told a March 15 Biodiversity Action Journalists The Gambia (BAJ-Gambia)-organised training workshop for editors, web designers and radio producers at Wellingara Horticulture Model Centre.

He said it is important that journalists provide the people with accurate and timely information on environmental matters – and encourages BAJ and its partners to not only train journalists but also embark on research projects.

Abdoulie Sawo of the Department of Parks and Wildlife and BAJ Board Chairperson said The Gambia faces lots of environmental challenges as the population increases. 

He said the department held a series of sensitizations on environmental and forest protection via community radio stations in which BAJ participated. He said they realised that a lot of activities [of the communities] were contributing to the destruction of the forest.  

Jalamang Jobarteh, Managing Director of Nifty ICT Solutions, said businesses cannot occur where the environment is threatened by degradation and the adverse effects of climate change. “So issues of environmental threats are a concern to us.”

Jobarteh, whose Nifty company is currently building the BAJ website (, said Nifty will support BAJ in whatever way it can.  

Gibril Barry of the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education said radical transformation has been made in the educational curriculum with the emergence of climate change, other environmental hazards and diseases like HIV and AIDS.

He noted that the ministry has signed an MOU with BAJ with the aim of promoting the idea of environmental stewardship.  

Citing example of environmental challenges, Mr Barry said the north bank region of The Gambia is a desert window where you can see the lives of our parents – living in poverty, dwindling forest cover and [growing] food insecurity.

Funded by UNDP GEF-Small Grants Programme (UNDEP/GEF-SGP), the grant is meant to implement a twelve-month project on public awareness on ‘Environmental Protection and Mitigation’ nationwide. 

Mamadou Edrisa Njie, BAJ-Gambia social-secretary, explains: “The project is meant to protect and mitigate the environment, working in collaboration with Gambia Press Union, 
 National Environmental Agency (NEA), Young Journalists Association of The Gambia (YJAG), MoBSE and other relevant stakeholders across the country.

“Since its inception the organization had held a series of awareness sensitisation in all corners of the country.

“The project targets environmental journalists, forest-users, local authorities, local farmers and relevant stakeholders.

“... for greater protection and conservation of the country’s remaining biological and natural resources, thus reducing potential climate change impact on agriculture.”

The participants were taken through presentations on Biodiversity Protocols, International Instruments and National by Laws by Mr Ousman Touray, national focal point on the UN Convention on Biological Diversity; Media’s Reporting on Climate Governance in Africa by Saikou Jammeh, a stringer of RFI; the Importance of Social Media in Today’s Society by Lamin Jahateh, a stringer of APA; and the Importance of Media in Socioeconomic Development by Modou S. Joof, managing editor of The Voice. 

Written by Modou S. Joof

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