Between empowerment sessions, workshops and networking events, the EcoMedia Forum plans to facilitate better relationships between the government, scientists and the media.

“Our vision for the South African media is to be empowered to report on environmental and sustainable-living issues, and for the South African public to be interested in sustainable living,” the forum’s Tafadzwa Ndiyamba said at its launch.

He said the forum’s mission was to provide a platform for journalists, media houses and media stakeholders to be empowered and mobilised around the reporting of green issues.

“EcoMedia will be like an environment and sustainable living resource hub and co-ordinator for environment journalists.

“It will organise workshops, empowerment sessions, conferences and accredited environmental reporting short courses.”

Jonathan Wigley, an environmental educator at the Wildlife and Environmental Society of South Africa, also delivered a talk at the launch, highlighting some of the challenges journalists faced.

“One of the perceptions was that conservation is for white people, but that’s changing now – conservation is about how humans interact with their environments.”

Wigley said it was important to remember that South Africa’s socio-economic problems often took precedence in terms of coverage, and were sometimes used as a justification of environmental degradation.

“You often hear that argument, as long as a development produces jobs,” he said. - Daily News

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