ConserveZim, commemorates World Press Freedom Day

John Cassim

HARARE, ZIMBABWE – May 3rd, is World Press Freedom Day, and this year as ConserveZim, we mark the 30th year of this UN International Day. 

This year’s theme as defined by UNESCO is, “Shaping a Future of Rights: Freedom of expression as a driver for all other human rights.”

Press freedom and reliable information globally is everyone’s concern and has an impact on all other human rights.

However, it is our call as ConserveZim, that as much as journalists’ rights need to be upheld, so are the rights of indigenous conservationists.

Most of these indigenous people are in Africa, and their efforts in trying to conserve nature, usually goes unnoticed.

In the absence of these indigenous passionate ground soldiers, the work of conservation journalists becomes very difficult, to execute.

The use of Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS), in conservation work, can not be undermined, hence the importance of the twinning of journalists and conservationists.

Conservation journalists like any other, can face violence and intimidation for exercising their fundamental right to freedom of expression. 

The range of threats they are confronted with include murder, kidnapping, hostage-taking, offline and online harassment, intimidation, enforced disappearances, arbitrary detention and torture.

Conservation journalists inform and engage the public about important environmental issues, be it climate change, dirty coal plants, or genetically modified crops, the public wants to stay abreast of possible threats to their environment and their implications for human and ecological health.

Our work include:

1.     Generating debate on issues related to the environment.

2.     Promoting conservation among the population.

3.     Providing synergies to topics ignored in the general media.

4.     Creating synergies among members of the public, communicators, institutions, NGOs and any agents involved in environmental issues.

As such a safe working environment for conservation journalists also guarantees preservation of flora and fauna, in general. 


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