LILONGWE, Malawi 09th December, 2021 (AEJ) - The Association of Environment Journalists today kicked off its annual assembly in Lilongwe with key partners urging journalists to stamp their authority to raise high the profile of environment issues in sectors of forestry, fisheries and wildlife among others in the country.
Deputy Director of Environmental Affairs, Benon Yasin who presided over the opening explained that Journalists have a key role to reach out to Malawians with messages on issues of biodiversity conservation in sectors of fisheries, forestry and wildife for instance.
Yassin also highlighted a need for vigilance among media practitioners to ensure sound sustainable development on issues of ESIA compliance during project development.
Yassin reminded journalists that they have a lot of work to do in this country, and need to step up their efforts, even by considering innovative ways of reaching out to rural populations.
“I am pleased to learn that in this room we have a very good representation of community radio stations, which is encouraging. But I am also aware of the challenges that your media houses face when it comes to content gathering. I would like to assure you that we will continue to work closely with your association to find the best ways to support your work,” said Yassin in his opening remarks.
Yassin then commended Modern Cooking for Healthy Forests (MCHF), a USAID funded project for introducing grants for forests investigative stories, which some members have begun to utilise. “I am reliably informed that the next call will be released in January 2022, and I want all of you to apply.” Yassin explained.
AEJ board member Diana Mataya urged Journalists to continue the path of safeguarding the path to sustainable development and continue to ensure they remain factual in their reporting. He thanked efforts from key strategic partners like Modern Cooking for Healthy Forest for coming forward to support journalists through grants in investigative journalism.
MCHF Chief of Party Ramzy Kenan said in his presentation, "There is a pressing need for government to address charcoal-led deforestation, increasing budgetary allocations and prioritising investments in activities that: enhance enforcement, conserve/restore natural forests; and invest wisely in tree planting,"
The climax of the AEJ assembly is when successful members of the institution are awarded prizes during the Green Media Awards ceremony. This year event will be presided over by the Minister of Forestry and Natural Resources, honourable Nancy Tembo who will be the guest of honour at the event.