By NAFTALI MWAURA
Kenyan Journalists have been challenged to bring environment matters at the centre-stage of their reporting endeavours. According to the Deputy Vice Chancellor Daystar University, the local media has not given environment matters the prominence they deserve but have rather relegated them to the periphery.
The Deputy Vice-chancellor Dr.Philip Kitui made the remarks while presiding over the official opening of an Environmental training workshop for Journalists sponsored by the Swedish International development Agency (SIDA) and executed by the Daystar University Department of Communication.
Dr Kitui who also happens to be an accomplished scholar in the area of Environment decried the alarming levels of degradation that our environment is currently faced with. “Rampant pollution, rapid depletion of natural resources, the menace of industrial effluent are some of the threats posing grave danger to mother nature”, noted the Vice Chancellor.
He at the same time observed new emerging environmental catastrophes like the global warming, hurricanes and desertification that threatens to annihilate all life forms on earth unless they are tackled urgently.
The Don challenged Journalists attending the two week certificate course to take up the challenge of giving environment stories more prominence and seek to demystify the stereotype that environmental stories are boring and lack glamour, money and opportunities that are found in other genres like politics, sports and business.
The Journalists have an enormous task to influence editorial policy in order for it to favour environment issues. At the same time, Journalists should persuade politicians and policy makers to place environment matters at the frontline of national debate and policy formulation. Legislations geared towards environmental conservation calls for urgency in order to assure future generations a future devoid of ecological calamities, noted the Vice-Chancellor.
Speaking at the same function, the Country coordinator, SIDA-MAKERERE Regional Training in Environmental Journalism and Communication Certificate course, Professor Faith Nguru also added more weight on the challenge for Journalists to passionately pursue Environment matters and to popularise them at all levels. The Professor noted that the Environment is faced with severe crisis that calls for people of goodwill to rise up and tackle them head on.
The SIDA sponsored certificate course is the thirteenth to be undertaken by the University and seeks to help Journalists acquire skills and expertise that broadens their understanding of Environment so as to report on the topic more objectively.