Radio program

Forest communities want decentralized radio program – Global News Network


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Liberian forest communities want a pro-forest media group, Liberia Forest Media Watch (LFMW) and its international partners to decentralize the weekly Forest Hour radio program to a local radio station.

The Facilitator of the National Union of Community Forest Management Organizations (CFMB), Bonathan Walaka, made the case during a day of forest media actors organized by LFMW on Tuesday July 20, 2021, with the support of the European Union (EU). Walaka stressed the need for communities to have the media on their side, noting that the media across LFMW has shown strength in exposing illegalities in the forestry sector.

“So to educate our people, we need the media on our side. We want Forest Hour to be decentralized to provide more education to our people so they can know their basic rights. Through this, the community will be able to share their concerns through the media,” Walaka added.

The Forest Hour radio program was created in April 2019 with the technical support of a project sponsored by the European Union (“Building the capacities of non-state actors (NSA) to improve FLEGT-VPA and REDD+ processes in West Africa”). Since its inception, the show has highlighted more than 30 critical forest issues ranging from non-compliance, illegal logging and corruption by leaders of community forest organizations. scandal-in-gba-community-forest-nimba-county. The show also put forest communities on the agenda of the monthly meeting of the Forestry Development Authority (FDA).

In separate but related remarks to selected print and broadcast journalists, the NUCFMB facilitator revealed that there are currently 47 signed Forest Management Agreements (CFMAs). He underlined that of the 47; only about 15 percent of forest concessions have few or no problems. This means that the remaining 85 percent of the forests under concession contract are marred by serious controversies due to disagreements between community and concessionaires on the one hand and community to community on the other.

Walaka told media officials that the data showed that communities have very limited, if any, knowledge of these Community Forest Management Agreements (CFMAs), pointing out that this is one of the root causes. most problems in the sector. “There are non-compliance issues in the forest sector. Before signing an agreement, the community is supposed or must have been aware of the terms and conditions and their royalties in this agreement, but this is not the case”.

The NUCFB official took the opportunity to describe the interference of local political leaders in community forestry issues as a troubling and major distraction to ongoing reform initiatives in the forestry sector. “As I speak to you, armed men are still in the forest of Gbi and Doru while block cutting is in progress”.

The objective of this one-day media forum is to improve media relations in the field of forest governance, as well as to inform the media about the activities of LFMW within the framework of the great direct support of the European Union with the aim of “strengthening the capacity of civil society for the implementation of the VPA FLEGT process”.

Mr. Paul Kanneh, Team Leader of LFMW, said engaging with the Liberian media is the best way to uncover most of the “serious problems” in the forestry sector. Kanneh, a former Liberian public relations expert and journalist, who has worked with the Heritage newspaper and a host of other media outlets, said the formation of a pro-forest media group aims to increase access to information in the forestry sector for the greater good. of the society.

“Our goal is to support the forestry sector. Our main objective is to increase access to information in the forestry sector and so we decided to use independent media,” said Paul.

“With my few years working as a public relations officer and freelance journalist, I realized that the media is great; the power of the media cannot be overestimated. The media has revolutionized reporting in the forestry sector and that is why we have been recognized. Again, we want better access to information in the forestry sector. It’s not about taking glory but partnership,” the LFMW official added.

LFMW is a conglomeration of like-minded, independent and investigative journalists covering the natural resources sector with a focus on forestry.

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