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Timorese-Papuan-Indonesian reporters attend Journalist Training on “Sustainable Management of Marine and Coastal Ecosystem”

Timorese-Papuan-Indonesian reporters attend Journalist Training on “Sustainable Management of Marine and Coastal Ecosystem”

(Photo Tatoli/Filomeno Martins)

DILI, 05 august 2022 (TATOLI) – More than 20 Journalists from Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea, and Indonesia attended a three-day Journalist Training on “Sustainable Management of Marine and Coastal Ecosystem in the Arafura and Timor Seas (ATS) Region”, covering four countries – Australia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and Timor-Leste.

The training aimed to improve journalists’ knowledge and skills in covering and reporting the issues facing the marine environment and coastal ecosystem in the ATS region.

Five journalists from Timor-Leste, namely Cidalia Fatima and Filomeno Martins from TATOLI, David da Costa Gusmão from Neon Metin, Cristina Belo from Rakambia Radio, and Evangelisto Gantry dos Santos Meliana from VIP-TV, together with five journalists from PNG, and 10 Indonesian reporters actively participated in the three-day training (august 2-4).

During the training, a number of keynote speakers with a broad background in marine science presented their findings and studies on issues facing the marine environment and coastal ecosystem in the ATS region.

Speaking at the training included Dr. Augustine Mungkaje from the University of PNG who spoke on “Arafura and Timor Seas: Ecological Importance, Socio-cultural value, threats and challenges”, Dr. Handoko Adi Susanto, the Regional Manager ATSEA- 2 Project spoke on “Governance and Priority Issues for Marine and Fisheries Sector in the ATS Region”, Mohammad Mukhlis Kamal from the Department of Aquatic Resources Management of the Padjadjaran University spoke on “Sustainable Fisheries in the ATS Region: Trends, Challenges, and Management, Yusuf Fajariyanto, the Ocean Protection Senior Manager of Indonesia Oceans Program Yayasan Konservasi Alam Nusantara (YKAN) spoke on “Marine Protected Areas and Blue Economy in the ATS Region” and Dedi Adhuri, a senior researcher at the Center for Community and Cultural Research (PMB) of National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) spoke on empowering Gender Equity to Mitigate Climate Impacts in the ATS Region.

Apart from raising the issues facing the Marine Environment and Coastal Ecosystem, these speakers also recommend solutions to be take collectively by the government of the four countries to tackle issues.

Mohammad Mukhlis Kamal of the Department of Aquatic Resources Management of the Padjadjaran University who spoke on ‘Sustainable Fisheries in the ATS Region: Trends, Challenges, and Management’ conclude that: “The fishery and ecosystem sustainability in the ATS region should be managed adaptively.”

“Along this process, the improvements in all management are mandatory. Multi-national level management for ATS Region would be an appropriate alternative,” he said.

In her presentation, Social Affairs Journalist of Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), Erin Parke said reporting on marine environment issues requires extensive research and time.

She said journalists would face lots of disagreement between people when covering issues like illegal fishing and environmental degradation: “So, you will have to spend time to verify and have the fact-checking of those agreements because not everyone’s opinions are equal. Stick to your critical thinking to not trust everything coming from one side.”

Parke said one of the challenges facing journalists in producing stories on illegal fishing is intimidation: “I have experienced intimidation from the fishing companies who tried their best to shut my stories down.”

She said journalists’ job can be challenging but saying, reporters must follow their instinct, and keep in contact with relevant parties to get their stories done.

In addition, Inga Stunzner, a Journalist of Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) News said that writing stories on issues facing the environment is like having a conflict with different industries, developers, and communities.

She said journalists sometimes produce stories to protect the environment, but saying they also need to think about the people’s livelihoods.

“Therefore, you need to make your stories relatable to people, which call people-based solutions,” Stunzner said.

She urged the environmental journalists from Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and Timor-Leste to not take sides when reporting on environmental issues: “Look for people who are impacted and use scientists behind your stories.”

During the training, the journalists were required to review a documentary film called ‘Seaspiracy’. The film review aimed to teach the journalist on producing investigative and in-depth reporting on issues facing the environment and coastal ecosystem.

Apart from the film review, the journalists were also taught to produce story pitches or coverage proposals for investigative and in-depth reporting stories.

The Journalist Training on “Sustainable Management of Marine and Coastal Ecosystem in the Arafura and Timor Seas Region” was organized by the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) Indonesia with the support of the ATSEA Project. Meanwhile, in collaboration with the AJI, Association Journalist Timor-Leste (AJTL) also provided technical support to three of the selected Timorese journalists in Timor-Leste during the training.

 

Journalist: Filomeno Martins

Editor: Nelia Borges

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