Journalists have been charged to take up the challenge to protect the environment because it is a national duty enjoined on them by the 1992 Constitution.
Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency, Mr. Henry Kwabena Kokofu, who made the call, indicated that Article 41 (k) of the Constitution mandates every citizen to protect and safeguard the environment.
This duty call, he argued, is a direct responsibility laid on members of the inky fraternity because as the fourth estate of the realm they are also empowered to investigate and disseminate information to the public about the environment in order to protect it.
In an address delivered on his behalf by Mr. Ebenezer Appah-Sampong, Deputy Executive Director Technical Services, at a training workshop for members of the Parliamentary Press Corps (PPC), Mr. Kwabena Kokofu stated that the media is an important channel for promoting knowledge of environmental issues.
According to him, devoting time to environmental issues in the media is a strong foundation for getting people interested in the destruction going on around them and the need to step up and stop it.
“Protecting the environment is a shared responsibility hence the need to manage it together just as we have been given the responsibility to provide leadership in the protection and management of the country’s economic environment.
“We have a responsibility to ensure we pull all together and deliver for the good of the country and the world at large”, he added.
The Executive Director noted that the EPA has a responsibility to enforce environmental regulations but stressed that mandate would be performed better by the agency when it works hand in hand with the media.
General Secretary of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), Mr. Kofi Yeboah, who represented President of the Association, Mr. Affail Monney at the programme applauded the EPA for the series of training workshops it has conducted for journalists.
He argued that the details of journalism are in the acquisition of knowledge first and foremost.
Mr Yeboah stressed that journalists can only educate and inform when they have good knowledge of what they disseminate.
According to him, being referred to as the fourth estate of the realm was first used in reference to the Parliamentary press and stressed that members of the PPC are the first and foremost who come into contact with laws that are passed in the House.
“So you are better placed to explain the laws to the people and educate them. I, therefore, find this workshop to be an icing on the cake to enable you to better appreciate the issues so that in our engagements with the people we can do a better job,” he said.
Mr. Yeboah urged journalists to practice positive journalism by going beyond the news to bring out pertinent backgrounds and antecedents to help Ghanaians appreciate and understand occurrences and what needs to be done to address them.
This, he said, is the new level that journalism has to go and expressed hope the PPC will take up the challenge and offer more to society.