Vietnamese media encouraged to become “agents of change” in efforts to deter wildlife crime

15:50 | 25/09/2017 Society

(VEN) - Approximately 70 influential guests gathered in Hanoi for a World Rhino Day Seminar organized by TRAFFIC and Behaviour change communication company Intelligentmedia on the role of Vietnamese media in promoting the protection of threatened wildlife, including rhino species. The seminar was initiated to reveal the powerful way media outlets can incorporate social responsibility into their work and contribute to combatting wildlife crime.

Over the last decade, Vietnam has regularly been identified as both a transit country and consumer market for endangered wildlife products such as rhino horn and elephant ivory. The ongoing demand continues to drive the criminal activities of wildlife poaching and trafficking, selling, buying and consumption of illegal wildlife products such as rhino horn.

Since 2014, under the Chi initiative, TRAFFIC and other government, civil-society and corporate partners have worked together to reduce demand for rhino horn amongst key groups of consumers. “Chi” refers to “inner strength of will”, a highly-respected trait in Vietnamese society.

The media has played a critical role in helping spread the Chi initiative’s message of “zero-tolerance towards the consumption of threatened wildlife” to larger audiences, including to specific target groups among the business community, shown by comprehensive research to be the most prolific users of rhino horn.

Ms. Madelon Willemsen, Head of TRAFFIC’s Viet Nam Office said “More than ever before, media plays an important role in creating and shaping public opinion on topical global issues such as illegal wildlife trafficking”.

“The Vietnamese media plays a critical role in shaping the moral values around the consumption and illegal trade of threatened species and what responsible Vietnamese citizens must do to protect threatened wildlife worldwide.”

A representative from TRAFFIC, Ms. Trinh Nguyen during her keynote speech on the Chi initiative said “Behaviour change communications are a useful approach in reducing the demand for illegal wildlife products in Vietnam”.

Mr. Bui Ngoc Manh, Vice Director, Centre for Professionalism, Scientific Research and Documentation, CCPE said “As the national communication educator of the Communist Party of Vietnam, the Central Committee for Propaganda and Education (CCPE) has prioritized encouraging our public servants, propaganda journalists and Vietnamese citizens to change their behaviour to adopt a zero-tolerance towards wildlife crime and illegal wildlife consumption, especially noting that the reasons for consumption are unsubstantiated by scientific evidence. We hope that the efforts by CCPE to establish a nationwide attitude of zero tolerance towards wildlife crime will improve the lives of everyday citizens and benefit wildlife threatened by poaching within Viet Nam and around the world”.

The seminar was funded by Peace Parks Foundation, Save the Rhino, UK Government, the French Development Agency (AfD) and WWF.

Thu Hang