• May 27, 2024
  • Last Update May 27, 2024 12:55 PM
  • Nairobi

Press Freedom key in reporting on climate issues – Journalists

Press Freedom key in reporting on climate issues – Journalists


Saturday, May 4 2024

KNA by Robert Ojwang

Journalists in Kisumu County have appealed to governmental authorities and all relevant stakeholders to respect, protect and promote press freedom for effective reporting to combat environmental crises.

Speakers at the World Press Freedom Day 2024 organised by Kenya Correspondents Association (KCA) in partnership with Article 19 Eastern Africa, Media Council of Kenya, and Kisumu Journalists Network (KJN) underscored the importance of independent press on advocacy and public understanding of environmental issues.

As heavy rain and frequent floods continue to disrupt lives across the country, the role of media has become even more crucial in highlighting the impacts of climate change.

“Journalists play a crucial role as the link between scientists and the public when it comes to reporting on environmental issues,” asserted John Oywa, Kisumu County Chief Officer of Communications.

“They help simply complex scientific research findings into understandable language for the general audience,” he highlighted.

“Journalists bridge the gap between science scholars and the indigenous people by effectively communicating environmental stories that seek to educate, raise awareness and inspire action, “observed Oywa.

Kevine Omollo, Chairperson, KCA Nyanza Chapter, observed that reporters serve as watchdogs, exposing corrupt and illegal activities fueling climate change and environmental degradation.

“The floods being experienced in Kisumu and other parts of the nation are as a result of environmental undoing through natural resources over exploitation by greedy individuals,” pointed out Omollo who is also the Managing Editor at Lake Region Bulletin.

He pleaded, “we are calling for authorities to create an enabling environment for media freedom and access to information to enable journalists to effectively report on climate change issues devoid of threats and intimidation from the culpable parties who are hell-bent on protecting their interests.”

In the meantime, KCA National Chairman Hadson Araka in a press release issued on Friday, acknowledged that the World Press Freedom Day this year was dedicated to the importance of journalism and freedom of expression in the face of the global environmental crisis.

Despite the gains towards attaining press freedom, Araka stated that freedom of speech, access to information and media independence are increasingly under attack globally.

He decried, “journalists in Kenya face numerous challenges in their work. They are often attacked, both physically and online, some are arrested and charged with various offenses, in a bid to intimidate them because they report on corruption, bad governance and demands for accountability by citizens.”

Violations and abuses suffered by media practitioners include physical attacks, torture, unlawful surveillance, extra-judicial killings, judicial harassment, enforced disappearances, cyber harassment, arbitrary arrests and illegal detentions.

The World Press Freedom Day is commemorated annually on May 3. Besides Kisumu, the event was also held in Kisii, Busia, Bungoma, Kakamega, Turkana, Nairobi, Isiolo, Meru, Tharaka, Makueni and Mombasa Counties.

Courtesy; KNA

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