Environment stakeholders in Meru have called for enhanced support for the media to complement efforts in mitigating the climate change crisis.

Speaking during the World Press Freedom Day celebrations in Meru town, various speakers appreciated the vital role played by the media in empowering communities.
Meru journalists marked this year’s day by planting trees at the Meru Primary School, a procession through Meru town and taking part in the Environment and Climate Change Stakeholders Forum organised by the Meru Press Club (MPC).

This year’s theme is A Press for the Planet: Journalism in the face of the Environmental Crisis.
Lewa Wildlife Conservancy Chief Programmes and Partnerships Officer John Kinoti, who was the keynote speaker, said a free press is vital in advancing the conservation agenda.
“I call on all of us to unite because the media records the present to shape the future. By telling the right environment stories, we can provide a better future for our generations. I urge all organizations to factor in the critical role of the media in their programmes,” Mr Kinoti said.

The Meru Forest Environment and Forest Protection Community Association (MEFECAP) Secretary Dorothy Naitore, said there was a need for the media to break down the environment and climate change science into language that can be understood by all.
“Communities, just like journalists, take a lot of risk to conserve our forest and other natural resources. There is a need to empower more grassroots communities in mitigating climate change. The media should encourage more action than talk,” Ms Naitore said.

VIDEO:Meru Press Engage Stakeholders on This Years Theme: A Press For the Planet
Mr Kelvin Mugambi from Friends of Kathita said there was a need for the media to act urgently to disseminate factual information on climate change.
“For instance, studies have shown that the Mt Kenya glaciers are receding. If we continue to experience the adverse effects of climate change, the more we lose the snow which is a key source of water for our rivers. Our rivers are also under threat from land degradation and deforestation. The media should be empowered to address this,” Mr Mugambi said.
Mazao Organics operations director Charles Onyango said the media should align its environmental reporting to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Mr Kinoti Mwebia, an environmentalist, called on the media to amplify positive stories to inspire more action.
MPC Chairman David Muchui said only a free media is capable of responding to the environmental crises that includes climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution.
“Independent journalists play a critical role in shaping policy, exposing environmental crimes and corruption. This role sometimes poses a threat to journalist’s lives and jobs. Stakeholders must respect the role of the media for sustainable development,” Mr Muchui said.
He said the media association will work with other stakeholders to “eliminate threats, resolve challenges in access and dissemination of information, and build the capacity of journalists to protect our biodiversity, inspire sustainable policies and expose environmental crimes.”

Media Council of Kenya’s Eric Kiogora said the council would continue building the capacity of journalists and providing grants to effectively report on environment and climate change.
Other organisations represented at the event were Kenya Forest Service (KFS), Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), Environmental Action Alliance and Meru Economic Forum.


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