The news media have a "fundamental role" in making society aware of the need to protect the environment, the president of Spain's international news agency Efe said here Tuesday.

"We in the media should not be very neutral on such a sensitive issue," Jose Antonio Vera said at a gathering of European and Latin American press executives in Santiago.

News outlets should promote defense of the environment, but "without nurturing radicalism," the Efe president said, adding that the aim must be to give people the knowledge to draw their own conclusions.

Vera cited his own agency's EfeVerde portal, which offers environmental news from around the world.

Europe, he said, is in the midst of a "great green wave" that began in Germany and is expanding across the continent.

While environmentalism is "tremendously good and necessary," it is vital to guard against environmental "fundamentalism" and the exploitation of green issues for political gain, Vera said.

"It is possible to be a liberal, on the right or a business-owner, and to be an environmentalist," he said.

The green movement, Vera insisted, "belongs to all of us." EFE