Idiatou Camara: “Sustainable development should be a priority for all media outlets”
The founder and general manager of Radio Environnement Guinée and a beneficiary of the Terra Africa project, Idiatou Camara is a journalist who has been working on sustainable development issues for the past decade.
Interview by Emmanuel de Solère Stintzy
What sparked your passion for environmental journalism?
Guinea is jam-packed with natural resources, but we are not sufficiently aware of how important they are. To obtain the knowledge I needed, I wanted to pursue higher education in this field (Editor’s note: two two-year Master’s degrees, one in Environmental Law and the second in Communication and Sustainable Development obtained from the University of Nice in France).
When I returned to Guinea in 2014, I found that there were a lot of media outlets, but none specialising in environmental issues. It was against this backdrop that the online radio station Radio Environnement Guinée was created in 2017. We discuss pollution, water resources and climate change. Now, we have broadened our coverage to include the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and gender equality issues, in particular. Our radio station has about twenty ad hoc partners and regional correspondents.
How can journalism help to raise environmental awareness among citizens?
Our regional correspondents tell us about the people’s experiences of agriculture, livestock, etc. The people can see climate changes and droughts. We must not think that they have no idea what is happening. However, our authorities are slow on the uptake when it comes to environmental awareness. They often focus their attention first on the army, football, and election campaigns, etc.
Journalists, too, must avoid discussing the environment only when there is a global day or a disaster like a flood! For now, our radio station is only online. With more resources, we would like to broadcast our content on the FM frequency band, in national languages, with children as the main target audience, because they represent the hope of making a difference.
What do you consider to be the challenges facing journalists in the fight against global warming?
We do not live outside our planet and as someone said (Editor’s note: António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations), “There is no planet B”. Journalists must therefore take an interest in sustainable development in a more structured and constructive manner, by training. One of the challenges to overcome is specialisation. Unfortunately, journalists do not take enough time to discuss these issues. In addition, some press bosses feel that the environment does not make enough money. However, sustainable development (environment, health, education, etc.) should be a priority for all media outlets. For my part, in any event, I will not give up. Children need to grow up surrounded by good, eco-friendly practices.