Malawi National Commission for United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has challenged journalists in the country to be professional in informing stakeholders and those affected by disasters and emergencies.
The Call was made Wednesday in Mzuzu by the Director of Technical Services in the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Dr. Godfrey Kafere when he opened a two day training in reporting on disasters and emergencies for journalists drawn from different media houses in the north.
He said professional reporting protects affected communities from panic and prepares both the would be affected and those responsible for response to such situations to plan before after disasters and emergencies.
“The media play an integral role in warning and keeping people informed even after the disasters so, there is need for journalists to be professional in reporting on such issues,” Dr. Kafere noted.
The Director said print and broadcast media remain trusted sources of information and journalists need to decipher the truth from rumors and myths which are always rampart in times of disasters and emergencies.
Dr. Kafere challenged the journalists to be knowledgeable about factors that contribute to both natural and human induced disasters and emergencies for them to be reporting the truth.
He said experts in disaster, emergency management and public health could only make good decisions depending on the information which generated and transmitted by the media.
“Besides raising awareness about disasters, the media are also responsible for exploring root causes of disasters and their social dimensions thereby helping communities understand what makes them [communities] vulnerable and what they can do to increase their capacities to cope with disasters,” Dr. Kafere added.
Acting Executive Secretary for Malawi National Commission for UNESCO, Emmanuel Kondowe said his organization decided to conduct the training to enhance the journalists’ capacities in reporting on disasters and emergencies.
By George Bulombola: Malawi News Agency