Nigerian media and civil society organisations (CSOs) have been identified as groups having key roles to play in the sustainability of the environment in the country.
These roles were key issues laid bared on Tuesday by Professor Daniel Ikudayisi Olorunfemi of the Department of Environment & Toxicology, the University of Benin at the Annual Conference of the Media and Civil Societies’ Advocacy held at the Africa for Peace Centre, Ugolo, near Warri, Delta State.
Prof. Olorunfemi, who delivered a paper on “The Role of CSOs and the Media in Sustainable Environment in the Niger Delta,” identified collection and dissemination of information, educating citizens and policymakers, supporting citizens’ participation, providing input for policy development and advocacy among others as roles of CSOs in sustaining the environment.
Prof. Olorunfemi also enjoined CSOs to engage more in advocacy, lobbying, creating awareness, resource mobilization and effective networking with the media, politicians, government agencies among others to achieve desired results.
Speaking on the roles of the media, which he described as the “watchdog and wake-up clocks” of the society, the UNIBEN don encouraged practitioners to be on the ground while covering issues on the environment, be knowledgeable about the history and eschew the use of scientific jargons in their reportage.
Other roles, according to him, include the media focusing more on detailed features writing, keeping their reportage simple, and the need to work with experts and credible sources.
Organiser and National Coordinator of the Centre for Peace and Environmental Justice (CEPEJ), Comrade Sheriff Mulade, during his welcome address at the annual conference, highlighted the significance of the media and CSOs in the sustenance of democracy in the country.
According to the environmental activist, “Civil society and the media are playing a key oversight role in the defense and sustenance of our fledgling democracy.
“This is why it is most appropriate to promote an enabling environment for civil society and media initiatives such as dialogues at various levels designed to foster cooperation and trust between the non-government civil societies and the media should be encouraged.
“Civil societies and the media, no doubt, have a critical role to play in building a culture of integrity in a volatile country such as ours.
“However civil society’s organizations in our country are seriously threatened by a contentions regulatory bill on Non-governmental Organizations.
“The bill which has passed the first and second readings is currently at the committee stage.
“The question is why is the bill generating controversy and why do critical stakeholders in CSOs want it dead?”
Representatives of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Partnership Initiative in the Niger Delta (PIND), Partners for Peace in Delta State and Peace & Community Empowerment Initiative who were at the conference, made contributions as regards successes and challenges hampering their roles in sustaining the environment.
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