GUWAHATI: The media that has a very important role to play in prevention of crime against wildlife and for wildlife habitat conservation by constantly flagging the issues cropping up from time to time, must adopt a holistic approach in doing so. Stating this, the Advocate General of Assam, Debojit Saikia called upon the media as a whole to wriggle out of the TRP (television rating point) constraints to highlight crime against wildlife as well as overall environment issues in a sustained and coordinated manner so as to raise the mass awareness level over the issues that may lead to influencing policy making for protection and wildlife and habitat.
The Advocate General on Saturday inaugurated a workshop on prevention of crime against wildlife and illegal trade in wildlife in a global perspective in Sibsagar Commerce College in historical town of Sibsagar in Assam. The workshop was organized by the biodiversity research and conservation organization, Aaranyak in coordination with the Mass Communication Department of Sibsagar Commerce College for the students of the department as well as the media fraternity in the district.
Pointing out that rhino poaching in Assam had reached an alarming proportion during 2005-2014, the Advocate General lauded the proactive role played by the media in whipping up mass protest against rhino poaching during the period. He said because of very effective measures taken by the State government since 2015, the rhino poaching in the State has declined sharply since 2016. Citing an example of how important role the media can play in protecting wildlife and habitats, Saikia recalled a news published in 2012 in a reputed daily in Assam which led to a PIL in Gauhati High Court against rampant encroachment that was taking place in Kaziranga National Park, a UNESCO declared World Heritage Site. Because of the intervention of the High Court, encroachers were finally evicted from the 6th Addition of the National Park. He therefore, called upon the media to resort to systematic and sustained coverage of crime against wildlife and illegal trade in wildlife so as to have a bearing on policy-making as well as judiciary's response to the issues.
The Principal of Sibsagar Commerce College agreed to what the Advocate General said and urged the media to cover the issues related to wildlife in an unrelenting matter for the greater interest of environment protection.
Secretary General and the CEO of Aaranyak, Dr Bibhab Kumar Talukdar commented that media should remain alert as the global crime graph against wildlife has been rising and Northeast India, a biodiversity hotspot, is bearing the brunt of it. He said the crime against and wildlife and illegal trade in wildlife has been enjoying patronage of insurgent, arm smugglers and drug lords and hence coordinated efforts among all stakeholders is required to tackle it. He said the powerful mass media can play a big role in facilitating the synergy in the efforts to prevent such crimes which also enjoy patronage of agencies in certain countries not known to be friendly to India.
Senior Manager of Aaranyak, Dr Jimmy Borah while making a presentation of journalism vis-à-vis wildlife crimes, highlighted that media must focus beyond charismatic species as every species are important for biodiversity conservation. Wildlife Crime Analyst of Aaranyak, Ivy Farheen Hussain while making a structured presentation on investigative journalism related to crimes against wildlife, highlighted that the media should be very particular about verifying facts through multiple sources to render credibility in their stories so that they could have the desired impact, stated a press release.