Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) under the Karonga Diocese has underscored the importance Community Journalists (CJ) can play in the issues of extractive industry saying their participation is key to advocating for the rights of communities where minerals are being extracted.
The faith-based organization made the call recently in the district during an engagement orientation that drew participants from community and professional journalistsfrom the district under their project Actions by Communities Towards Inclusive and Valuable Extractive for Malawian withfinancial support from Australian Aid through Oxfam.
The engagement also come amid several incidents in the country where communities have closed mining activities down due to failure by mining companies to for fill their corporate social responsibility including at Ilomba mine in Chitipa among others.
According to CCJP project officer Vinsent Bwinga, local communities are often victims of negative effects of mining as they are not benefiting from the extractive minerals that are happening in their localities hence the importance of community journalists.
He said, CJ’s can be key as they may assist the professional journalist’s include context in their news stories thereby encouraging journalist’s add more depth to their coverage on issues of extractive.
“Since CJ’s are more focused on community coverage therefore it is more likely that they will be able to relay communities concerns especially on issues of mining that are taking place in their areas,” he said.
Derek Mweba one of the participants, expressed gratitude to the organization for bringing together community and professional journalists to bang heads on issues of extractive industry in the district.
Adding, the engagement meeting was an eye opener hence was grateful for the knowledge that they had gained.
However, Karonga District Information Officer (DIO) Andrew Mkonda, has challenged fellow journalists to broaden up their horizon in their news gathering and embrace extractive industry reporting.
“We the media tend to gather news in areas that we think news is easier to find like politics and ignore other areas like the extractive industry where there are a lot of stories too that need be telling hence let’s all embrace this sector,” he articulated.