Journalists urged  to prioritise climate change coverage

Story: Peace Awuku 

The government has called on journalists to prioritise coverage of climate change-related issues, emphasising the need for increased awareness creation and advocacy to preserve the environment.

Chief of Staff, Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, made the call on behalf of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo at the 3rd African Media Convention held in Accra on Thursday, May 16.

The convention, which brought together journalists and media professionals from across Africa, aimed to promote press freedom, access to information, and media viability.

In her address, Osei-Opare urged journalists to take a lead role in highlighting the impact of human activities on the environment and promoting sustainable practices.

“We as Africans and the media in particular have a special duty to reflect on the exercise of journalism and freedom of expression amid the global environmental crisis. It is noteworthy that climate change denials have become increasingly untenable in the face of escalating environmental catastrophes occasioned by human activities.”

Chairperson of the AMC Steering Committee, Churchill Otieno, emphasised the importance of brave and innovative journalism in the face of censorship, harassment, and misinformation.

He honoured the dedication of journalists who hold power to account and champion the cause of justice and democracy.

“Today as we sit here, we pay homage to the indispensable role of journalists, to the brave souls who illustrate the darkest of our society, who hold power to account. I’m honouring their dedication; we also remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.”

Ghana Journalists Association President, Albert Dwumfuor, highlighted Ghana’s improvement on the World Press Freedom Index as a collaborative effort between the government and journalists.

He called for continued protection of journalists and credible election coverage as the country heads to the polls in December.

“It’s part of the improvements made in our press freedom rankings. There are still some other critical challenges we need to deal with, especially as Ghanaians go to the polls in December.

“We pray that the entire nation will protect journalists in the discharge of their duties. We also pledged to protect the interest of the nation with credible elections coverage.”

Information Minister-Designate, Fatimatu Abubakar, announced the government’s intention to collaborate with social media influencers to combat misinformation and disinformation.

She also highlighted the importance of media literacy programmes to empower individuals to discern reliable information from falsehoods.

“The government of Ghana through the Ministry of Information implemented media literacy programmes to educate the public on critical thinking, source evaluation and verification. These initiatives aim to empower individuals to discern reliable information from falsehoods.”

”To achieve this aim, social media influencers with a wide-reaching impact on various platforms play a pivotal role in amplifying the importance of media literacy. By leveraging that influence, we aim to reach a broader audience in stealing various values uncritical thinking and source evaluations in the hearts and minds of citizens”, she said.

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