Journalists gather to promote local voices at the Regional Workshop
Scholarship has repeatedly stated that if people are empowered, their voices heard, and accountability is pursued, then governance will be strengthened on the ground level. But according to RECOFT - the Center for People and Forests and the Voices for Mekong Forests (V4MF) project, this is not enough.
“Although initiatives in the region continue to promote the inclusion of multiple stakeholders in dialogues, there is oftentimes no platform to promote these views to a larger audience,” notes David Gritten, forest research lead at RECOFTC.
Recognizing the need to provide platforms to marginalized voices in forest governance processes, RECOFTC and V4MF teamed up with Internews’ Earth Journalism Network (EJN) to organize a two day media workshop for selected journalists from the region.
“These past two days were another series of steps being taken to strengthen the voices of non-state actors,” Etienne Delattre, V4MF Project Coordinator, said of the workshop. On 18 - 19 August 2018, the workshop focused on providing the necessary skills and contacts to regional media experts, allowing them to explore opportunities for collaboration amongst other reporters.
“It is important to build networks of journalists who are devoted to telling the stories of local communities engaged in the everyday processes of forest governance and negotiation,” Detty Saluling, RECOFTC’s Acting Communications Manager, stated, adding that, “the purpose of this workshop was to generate such a connection between journalists in the region and inspire them to promote local communities’ needs and be the drivers to amplify these voices.”
Following the workshop, two journalists were invited to represent their peers and participate in the dialogue session at the People and Forest Forum, providing their invaluable insights in how RECOFTC can better engage urban communities and connect reporters with those on the ground.
“Broadening the scope of our outreach is an approach that V4MF strongly supports in its mission to improve forest governance in the region,” concluded Delattre, referencing particular connections that were established between journalists, local communities, and practitioners.