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CSDevNet, Media Stakeholders call for Collaborative Action and Capacity Building to Advance Sturdy Journalism

Snip shot of participants at the webinar
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Snip shot of participants at the webinar

The Climate and Sustainable Development Network (CSDevNet) and other media stakeholders have called for more collaborative action and capacity building initiatives in a bid to advance sturdy journalism in Nigeria.

This call was made in an advocacy zoom webinar held on 2nd November 2023 in commemoration of the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists (IDEI).

The webinar brought together prominent journalists, environmental activists and media stakeholders in a theme: “Uniting Voices for Journalists’ Wellness and Equitable Society.”

The event featured thought-provoking remarks by the National Network Coordinator (NNC) of CSDevNet and insightful contributions from two distinguished panellists, Mr Etta Michael Bisong, Senior Environment Reporter at EnviroNews Nigeria and Mr Uchenna Igwe, a Development Journalist from Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID).

Abu Stephen, the National Network Coordinator (NNC) of CSDevNet

Mr Stephen Abu, NNC – CSDevNet, highlighted the vital role journalists play in addressing climate justice issues and buttressed on the crimes they face globally.

In the face of climate justice issues, journalists occupy a pivotal position as the torchbearers of truth and accountability. They tirelessly investigate, report, and narrate stories that expose environmental injustices, from deforestation and pollution to unequal access to resources and the disproportionate effects of climate change on vulnerable communities.

Their commitment to bringing these issues to the forefront is fundamental in the global effort to rectify environmental wrongs, promote sustainable practices, and empower marginalized voices.

However, this invaluable work often comes at a significant cost. Journalists worldwide face a daunting array of risks and crimes, ranging from threats and intimidation to violence and even murder. These threats, often driven by powerful interests who seek to silence inconvenient truths, underscore the urgency of protecting and supporting those who courageously champion climate justice in the face of global adversity.

The International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists serves as a sobering reminder of the critical need to address these challenges, safeguard the safety of journalists, and uphold the vital role they play in the fight for a more equitable and sustainable world.

Mr Etta Michael Bisong, Senior Environment Reporter at EnviroNews Nigeria

The panellists further shared personal experiences of their impactful environmental reporting.

Mr Etta Bisong championed an investigative documentary that brought to limelight a lead poison outbreak in Anka local government area in Zamfara state that claimed 480 lives and left thousands adversely impacted. The community members thought what was happening was mystical and spiritual until the synergy of civil societies (in particular an NGO, Connected Advocacy) and investigative journalism came in play.

The expertise of Mr Uchenna Igwe played a vital role in reporting the environmental impact of a bridge construction in river erosion and the destruction of various houses in a local community in Akwa Ibom state, Nigeria.

Etta underlined the importance of protecting journalists from impunity and acknowledged the risks journalists undertake to bring truth to the forefront. He emphasised the need for continued support and capacity building for journalists to tackle these complex issues effectively.

Mr Uchenna Igwe, a Development Journalist from Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID)

Uchenna reinforced the notion that collaboration across various news stakeholders is vital to bringing about lasting change in Nigeria’s environmental landscape.

The panelists collectively stressed that journalism is a powerful tool for promoting climate justice and that journalists should not only report on environmental issues but also take on the role of advocates for sustainability and equitable policies. They underscored the need for more comprehensive training and capacity building programs to empower journalists to tackle these issues effectively.

As the advocacy webinar concluded, it was evident that the discussion had sparked a renewed commitment to addressing climate justice through the lens of journalism. The event served as a reminder of the sacrifices journalists make to shed light on critical issues and the importance of protecting their rights. It also called for enhanced collaboration across the journalistic landscape and more substantial support for journalists in their mission to create a more equitable society.

The webinar not only acknowledged the critical role journalists play but also affirmed that their collective voice is a force to be reckoned with, capable of driving tangible change and ensuring a sustainable, just future for all Nigerians. As the sun set on the commemoration of IDEI 2023, the resolve to unite voices for journalists’ wellness and an equitable society burned brighter than ever.

Flyer of the webinar

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