Wetland communities practice citizen journalism

September 27, 2019 - 12:06

Four journalists from Việt Nam News and Vietnam Television (VTV) provided trainees with basic journalism skills.

Citizen journalists are visiting a farm land in U Minh Thượng National Park in the southern province of Kiên Giang. The visit is part of a training course on CJ held by the IUCN. — VNS Photo Mai Khuyên

Mai Khuyên

KIÊN GIANG — About 30 citizen representatives from the Mekong (Cửu Long) River Delta have joined a citizen journalist network to empower their roles in protecting the environment and boost natural conservation.

The citizens of different ages and genders include members of women unions, youth union, forest rangers and officials from three wetlands or Ramsar sites in the Mekong River Delta of U Minh Thượng National Park, Láng Sen Wetland Reserves and Phú Mỹ Reserve.

Before becoming members of the mobile journalism of Việt Nam (MojoVietnam), they had a chance to attend a training course on basic journalism skills.

The course was held early this month by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in U Minh Thượng National Part in Kiên Giang Province.

Four journalists from Việt Nam News and Vietnam Television (VTV) provided trainees with basic journalism skills including news reporting, feature writing, photography and making video clips using smartphones and other simple and cheap technological accessories.

They also helped local citizens understand journalism ethics and the importance of citizen journalism in environmental protection, particularly in their local living areas at the three Ramsar sites.

The trainees practiced journalism techniques on how to organise an article, how to interview, how to collect and analyse information, and how to record and edit a video clip.

A group of young people from Phú Mỹ Reserve learn how to use IT accessories for citizen journalism during a training course held by the IUCN. — VNS Photo Mai Khuyên

After the course, the participants committed to protecting and preserving wetland areas by joining the citizen journalism network.

They were encouraged to provide their journal products by accessing mojoVietnam on YouTube and Facebook, a citizen journalism network set up by the IUCN and a group of journalists from Việt Nam News and VTV.

Their products will be used as materials and information for environmental reporting.

Nguyễn Thùy Anh, IUCN Communication and Outreach Officer, speaks on the important role of citizen journalism in environmental preservation. — VNS Photo Mai Khuyên

Speaking at the opening session of the course, Nguyễn Thùy Anh, IUCN Communication and Outreach Officer said the course aimed to support local communities who rely on wetland resources for their survival to raise their voices on the impacts of climate change on ecosystems of wetland areas.

“The training targets equipping local citizens with knowledge and skills of practicing citizen journalism at their living areas so they can tell real stories through news, articles and videos. This also helps improve the local communication efficiency at the same time boost environmental conservation activities at local areas,” said Anh.

The course with its target to increase local awareness of citizen journalism, is part of the Mekong WET project on building the capacity of media development among local communities and help them understand the role of members of the public in environmental protection.

CJ trainees are practicing some journal techniques on their mobile phones. — VNS Photo Mai Khuyên

Trainees heard reports by IUCN experts Nguyễn Đức Tú, Lê Phát Qưới and Tăng Phương Giản about the Mekong WET project and analysis on the situation of wetlands and climate change impacts within Việt Nam particularly on the three Ramsar sites in the Mekong Delta.

Trương Kim Anh, a trainee and member of the Women's Union in Giang Thành District located in Phú Mỹ Reserve, said after the course she recognised the important role of citizen journalism in protecting the environment.

Kim Anh said she would bring all her knowledge about citizen journalism into practice in her local community, particularly the local women's union to share her views and voice about natural preservation in her local area to others across the nation.

“This is the first time I have attended such course and I find it very useful to my work and my life. As a local citizen and a member of the women union which also plays a very important role in society, I promise to follow citizen journalism at the same time encourage my locals to be a citizen journalist so that we all can make contributions to protecting my Phú Mỹ Reserve,” said Kim Anh.

Anh said the women's union in Phú Mỹ Reserve was also planning to set up a local bulletin and this course helped her be part of the plan.

Mekong WET: Building Resilience of Wetlands in the Lower Mekong Region through a Ramsar Regional Initiative is being implemented by IUCN in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Việt Nam to build climate resilience by harnessing the benefits of wetlands.

Implemented from January 2017 to December 2020, Mekong WET is funded by the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety.

Through its focus on wetland ecosystems and adaptation to climate change, the project also supports governments in pursuing their commitments on climate change adaptation and mitigation under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and implementing their National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans under the Convention on Biodiversity. — VNS