The National Council of Environmental Journalists—NCEJ is a national level forum of Pakistani environmental journalists, which is struggling to increased coverage of environmental issues of Pakistan. Having more than 60 journalists across Pakistan, NCEJ often arrange trainings for its member journalists so that they can understand technical subject like environment and climate change.
From February to August 2014, NCEJ planned to hold a series of eight to ten workshops as part of “Environmental Journalism Taking Root” a small project in collaboration with Internews-Europe and Earth Journalism Network, to build off NCEJ’s earlier work with Internews Europe revolving around flood recovery. Additional issues in this new series will cover glacial melt, climate change, and deforestation.
After holding eight classroom and field trainings in Sindh, Punjab and Balochistan NCEJ hold this ninth field training for its newly selected journalists in Mardan city of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa province.
After classroom training, NCEJ arrange this field training for its newly selected member journalists of Mardan. For this field training, that held in supervision of environmental journalist and NCEJ’s president Amar Guriro, Mardan journalists were taken to a small village Ghala Dher of the smallest administrative unit—the union council of Sokai kalay, some 12 kilometers away from Mardan city. Comprises on around 5000 residents, majority of them are farmers, this village is not only suffering with attacks by Pakistani Talibans, but also disasters like flooding.
A small river like canal, which brings water from upstream in mountainous range, often inundates the village. During 2010 flood, which is now known as Pakistan Super Flood, half of the village was under the water. But despite that no any Pakistani media reported the sufferings of this village.
Villagers never met any journalist in their village before. Therefore, when they saw this small group of journalists among them, they got excited and wanted to express their concern and also wanted journalists to take their demands to the government authorities.
The NCEJ’s member journalists conducted interviews of the local residents to understand how they suffered with the climate change and worsening environment in the region. The participating journalists, beside learning tips on environmental journalism, initials of an interview, tried different techniques of a good piece to camera.
The journalists also expressed their happiness to learn during classroom and field training and also to be part of this unique national forum, as often they are not being invited by anyone to attend such session or membership.