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Media report on Natural Resource and Environment very negligible – Sarpong


Out of 7000 news reports sampled by the National Media Commission in 2008, Natural Resource and Environment (NRE) represented only one per cent.

Political related issues recorded 26 per cent; Sports, 24, Drugs, 10 per cent, peace and security, nine per cent; Arts and Entertainment, five per cent; Media and Law recorded three per cent each; Women and Children and Development, two per cent each while Tourism recorded one per cent.

Mr. George Sarpong, Executive Secretary of the Commission, said this when he spoke on the Topic “Media Reporting and the Natural Resource and Environment: What makes the news?” at a day's capacity building workshop for environmental journalists in Accra.

The workshop was organized by Kasa, an advocacy group on the theme, “Natural Resource and Environment: Media as an Effective Advocacy Partner in Shaping Public Opinion and Influencing Policy” to equip journalists in developing the interest in reporting on those thematic areas.

Kasa is a two-year pilot civil society support mechanism in natural resource management established in 2008 to organize learning lessons to design a longer term capacity building in natural resource and environmental management.

Mr Sarpong explained the higher scores for politics, sports and drugs could mean there were lots of activities relating to those fields but added that the one per cent recorded for NRE issues was not encouraging.

“We knew last year was an election year, lots of drug traffickers were arrested within the period and the hosting of the CAN 2008 could have been the contributing factors,” he said, adding, NRE issues were equal national ones which cut across all regions and urged reporters to give equal coverage to the sector.

The Executive Secretary also decried the over concentration of Frequency Modulation (FM) Stations in the Greater Accra Region and hinted that the NMC would correct the anomalies to ensure fair distribution of air waves across the country.

Mr Sarpong said the over concentration came about because of lack of communication between the Commission and the National Communication Authority (NCA) “but the NMC is now included on the board of the NCA and we hope to use the opportunities to correct those wrongs”.

Dr Steve Manteaw, Media and Campaign Director, ISODEC, said: “the extraction of natural resource in our part of the continent rather brought us total misery and poverty”.

He said: “resources from the natural resources should be used to improve facilities in the mining areas to alleviate abject poverty among the people”.

He, therefore, urged the government to endeavour to maximize benefits from natural resource extraction and minimize the toll on the environment.

Sarah Naa Dedei Agbey, a member of the group, said the goal was to reduce poverty through improved natural resource and environmental governance, build capacity in advocacy, research and communication strategies, among other things.

She announced that they would be monitoring news reports on NRE to award media houses that give more prominence to the issues.