(This article from awoko.org covers an environmental journalism training in Sierra Leone sponsored by Internews' Earth Journalism Network.)
The Union of Environmental Journalists (UEJ) has organised a one day training for environmental journalists over the weekend at the ENFORAC Office in Freetown for a better reporting of environmental issues.
Journalists from both the print and electronic media highlighted some of the environmental problems in the country. Funding for the training is from Earth Journalism Network (EJNET) and Internews to Africa Network of Environmental Journalists Sierra- Leone (ANEJ-SL).
Four organisations namely: UEJ , Association of Journalists on Mining and Extractives (AJME), Sierra Leone Environmental Journalists Associations (SLEJA) and Wetlands Journalists in Sierra Leone (NWJ-SL) under the Federation of Environmental Journalists will also organise training for their members.
Harold Williams, head of UEJ said that the training is an orientation of the process to be credible, stronger performing as a voice of civil society in Sierra Leone.
He added that if Journalists can effectively deal with environmental stories, it would attract policy makers adding that journalist must extend their coverage of writing environmental stories and also raise awareness of issues affecting the environment.
Williams stated that the media is an important channel for information that can empower people to effect positive change.
He noted that in developing countries, journalists struggle to report effectively on climate change due to a lack of training, unsupportive editors and weak outreach from domestics policy makers stating that it is almost similar to Sierra Leone but with the four organizations implementing effective training there will be changes.
The head of UEJ explained that EJN is the only organisation in the world created to empower networks of local journalists to effectively cover environmental issues.
Williams further stated that EJN has trained and continues to work with over 1000 journalists in more than 50 countries, bringing over 100 of them to recent climate change summits, including Copenhagen.
He concluded that journalists must give people the news and information they need, the ability to connect to the issues and the means to make their voices heard on environment issues as it is very important.