++ Reporting the environmental issues by the local and national media was the main thematic of the workshops++
A series of workshops are organized by EcoAlbania in 5 regions of the country with a focus on environmental issues reporting in national and local media. During the meetings organized in the period March – June 2019, a draft – study “Media and Environmental Issues in Albania” was presented, which analyzes 5 important environmental issues, focusing on the contribution of the media in their reporting and resolution. The findings were discussed with local environmental journalists and CSOs in Tirana, Elbasan, Fier, Vlora and Kukës regions who expressed their concerns about the issues affecting their area, thus contributing to its enrichment through concrete recommendations.
The draft study addresses the low level of media reporting on the unsustainable use of ecosystem services, emphasizing the fact that reporting of environmental problems is sporadic, not periodic, and non-analyzing. On the other hand, it highlights the need to improve environmental reporting in Albania as well as enhancing cooperation between environmental organizations and local journalists.
Experts of investigative journalism and experts on environmental law and energy have presented during the workshops topics on successful investigative journalism techniques, the importance of environmental news in Albanian newsrooms, the research and knowledge of the environmental law, as well as environmental issues and media in Europe, international environmental policies and legislation, comparing Albania’s situation with the EU and other Balkan countries.
Concerns raised by local journalists on reporting issues regarding environmental cases relate to lack of expertise and capacities of journalists for tracking and investigating environmental issues and the lack of journalists’ networks dedicated to environmental issues, which does not favor continuous communication between environmental organizations, activists and media/ journalists.
On the other hand, they raise the concern that the work of journalists is often subject to censorship of business influence, political influence or involvement of media owners in economic activities that in many cases consist in the use of natural resources. Moreover, the lack of cooperation between journalists and public institutions regarding the provision of information on the state of the environment and the specific environmental issues becomes a hindrance to full reporting of a particular environmental issue.
After the end of the series of thematic workshops, in September 2019, EcoAlbania will host a conference in Tirana with journalists, national environmental NGOs and journalism / media NGOs to present the final study “Media and Environmental Issues in Albania”.
With the financial support of the Small Grants Program of the Commission for Democracy of the US Embassy in Tirana. Opinions, findings, conclusions and recommendations expressed by the author are not necessarily those of the Department of State.