A group of journalists from the Mahagi territory local branch of the National Press Union of Congo (UNPC), led by the chairman Mr. Samuel Munguromo Atido, visited Radio Terra FM on January 4th, 2023, with the intention of learning from and sharing experiences. This visit enabled Radio Terra FM journalists to establish a contact, share and learning with different media outlets in Mahagi territory. Over 25 media professionals from the DRC and Uganda participated in the session.
Journalists from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) discussed the difficulties they encounter in their line of work, including issues with inadequate equipment, inadequate protection, and a lack of cooperation between journalists and government stakeholders, which includes information being withheld from journalists by officials who frequently fear doing so. The absence of sources, according to Mr. Munguromo Atido, head of the journalists delegation, has an impact on journalists’ ability to produce informative news.
To encourage experience and lesson sharing among journalists and media organizations in the area, Mr. Jacque Unyutha, the trainer of Mahagi territory journalists, discussed the journalistic code of conduct and asked journalists working at the border of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to cooperate with one another.
Finally, he requested that the leaders of Radio Terra FM organize a training workshop for the journalists of Mahagi Territory in order to increase their capacity in areas such as journalism best practices, digital security, and legal security for journalists and media workers, among other things. He urged the journalists to respect and uphold the code of conduct.
This journalist exchange and learning visit comes at a time when Radio Terra FM and Environmental Defenders are planning capacity building activities for DRC journalists whose reporting focuses on environmental crimes, peace, and human rights. Radio Terra FM and Environmental Defenders are working together to develop communication strategies for the Epulu-Ituri forest landscapes, which are suffering from high levels of environmental degradation, forest loss, and biodiversity extinction. To reverse these trends, Radio Terra FM and Environmental Defenders are collaborating with journalists and media outlets from both landscapes on environmental reporting issues, such as wildlife crimes, illegal logging, land degradation, agriculture, and livelihoods, among others.
At the heart of this collaboration is also protection and security for environmental journalists and activists, as well as civil society organizations that have been targeted as a result of their environmental activism. A series of digital and physical security safeguards, as well as legal emergency assistance, are being developed by Environmental Defenders and Radio Terra FM in response to the challenges that these environmental activists and defenders face in this region of the DRC.
In their mission to serve the public interest, the media and journalists play a critical role in responding to environmental degradation by informing, educating, promoting dialogue, and sharing initiatives and solidarity networks, as well as exchanging global and local solutions. The media can provide keys to assisting the population in understanding, developing adaptability, and overall societal resilience.
About Radio Terra FM
Terra FM, a non-profit radio station broadcasting to communities in both Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
About Environmental Defenders
The Environmental Defenders (ED) is an ecofeminist and collaborative environmental justice organization that works to protect biodiversity and Indigenous Peoples’ rights. We work in the Albertine Rift region (Murchison-Semliki, Greater Virunga, and Ituri landscapes), which borders the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda.
Environmental Defenders’ mission is to protect and defend the natural environment, as well as the people and wildlife who depend on it. The organization envisions a safe, healthy, and environmentally sound environment for people and wildlife alike.
Environmental Defenders is committed to fostering resiliency for environmental and human security, assisting marginalized Indigenous Peoples and traditional communities in the Albertine rift region to live sustainably and safeguard their cultural practices, water sources, lands, and surrounding environment.