Sadc implores journos to amplify food aid appeals

SADC executive secretary Elias Magosi

SADC executive secretary Elias Magosi has urged journalists to amplify national and regional appeals for humanitarian support in the face of the El Niño-induced drought which has left millions facing hunger.

Addressing delegates at the World Press Freedom Day commemorations held in Gaborone, Botswana, Magosi urged journalists to contribute to the debate and solutions for climate-proofing agriculture.

This year’s World Press Freedom Day commemorations were held under the theme: A Press for the Planet: Journalism in the Face of Environmental Crisis, a theme highlighting the media's crucial role in raising awareness of environmental issues and fostering sustainable development.

“In this regard, journalists, as our catalysts for change, will be expected and encouraged to play a role in amplifying the voices for national and regional appeals for support, ensuring that the messages requesting for humanitarian support reach our various partners for support” Magosi said in a speech read on his behalf by deputy executive secretary, Judith Kateera.

Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe have already reached out for humanitarian support, as millions of people in those countries face food shortages. 

Botswana’s Assistant Minister for State President Boitumelo Gofhamodimo said the role of journalists is critical if the world was to mitigate the effects of climate change. 

“The media serve as watchdogs of society, shining a light on environmental issues, exposing wrongdoing, and holding those in power accountable for their actions,” she said.

 “They bridge the gap between scientific knowledge and public understanding, translating complex environmental issues into narratives that resonate with audiences worldwide.”

Gofhamodimo also bemoaned the challenges that journalists face such as censorship, harassment, violence and imprisonment.

 “Let us stand in solidarity with those who work tirelessly to uphold the principles of a free, pluralistic, diverse and independent media, even in the face of adversity,” she said.

“I am delighted that we have institutions such as Misa in our region of Southern Africa to advocate for and promote freedom of expression and access to information.” 

The annual commemorations were organised by Misa and Unesco.


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