San Miniato, 9 March 2019 - “Environmental information is complicated in every corner of the world, no matter what the level of interest in public opinions is. Yet, in the South of the world, our job is almost pioneering. Denouncing the damages caused to the natural resources means exposing oneself to dangerous consequences and threats. This is why, the West must stand by those journalists who, regardless the dangers, continue to report with passion”. These are the reasons behind the decision of the network of journalists of Greenaccord NGO to assign the International Media Award to the Nigerian television network TVC News and their weekly environmental TV Magazine “Green Angle”.
The award was assigned to TVC News in the last day of conferences of the 15th International Forum for environmental journalism organized in San Miniato by Greenaccord and the Region of Tuscany. It was also an occasion for the one hundred environmental journalists to reflect on the dangers of reporting on environmental crimes in an African country.
“Our job – explained Ugochi Oluigbo, editor of the Nigerian network receiving the award – is extremely difficult for two reasons: it is very dangerous to confront the crimes committed against our forest and environmental patrimony because of the strong economic interests of national and international companies. Often, we discover murders of environmentalists who had investigated too deep. Second, we must challenge and reverse the public opinion’s indifference”.
When one’s main preoccupation is to eat and have a minimum salary at the end of the month, it is hard to be think long-term and care about the future of the natural resources of one’s country. “Nigeria is a large country, very young and with endless hopes for the future” Oluigbo explained. “But the environmental issues are inevitably put on the back-burner until the primary needs of our citizens are satisfied”.
Finally, a response to those in the Western world who share and spread the populist motto that Africans “must be helped in their own homes”. “You truly want to help us in our home?” the editor of Green Angle questioned. “Well then, pressure your governments and your companies to stop ransacking our resources, fueling corruption in our countries and in our governments. Then we shall truly demonstrate what Africa is capable of, as soon as it is free to decide its own future”.