UNESCO to train media in West Africa to use digital tools to cover environmental issues

The project aims to equip local media with the necessary skills to leverage technology and data to hold polluters accountable and keep the public informed about environmental solutions and shortcomings.

UNESCO will implement a project in four African countries – Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon and Gabon – to train news teams from leading media organisations to use digital tools for investigating and reporting on environmental issues.

Given the numerous presence of international and national extractive companies in Africa, Tawfik Jelassi, UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, highlighted local media’s role in monitoring these companies’ activities and holding them accountable in case of environmental violations.

In addition to equipping media teams with skills to use technologies such as satellite imagery, databases on climate indicators, 3-D modelling, digital maps and others, UNESCO will also instruct them on researching public records for their coverage, including environmental laws and regulations.

After completion of the project, participants are expected to be able to expose actors who are not complying with environmental laws and commitments, identify discrepancies between officially released data and reality and dispute statements made by politicians.