Media Relations Guidebook for Civil Society

The democratic public policy decision-making process relies on an informed, educated, and engaged public. Academic experts, government officials, businesses, financial analysts, participants in a specific event, and – most importantly for this guidebook – volunteer non-profit civic groups, often known as non-governmental organizations and civil society actors, provide information to the media. This guidebook takes this factor and the role of the latter as a key premise in building its targeted instructions and practical examples.

Whether NGOs specialize in environmental issues, political corruption, children’s health issues, or drug abuse, these public policy champions have two things the media needs: reliable information and a point of view. Nongovernmental organizations may challenge misinformation, educate the public, set the political agenda, and develop public support for initiatives if they have reliable information. However, NGOs’ facts and viewpoints are useless if they do not or cannot disseminate them to the general public. To gain access to the most important information pipeline – the media – NGOs must first understand the needs of the gatekeepers in the media, then learn the skills and techniques required to effectively present information to the media, and then develop strategies to mobilize their media advocacy resources.

This guidebook provides an in-depth look at the role of civil society and the media, their role in a democratic society, the most effective means of cooperation between the two actors, and how they can complement each-others work in order to create long-term synergies.

The guidebook also provides examples and exercises for the best practices in building marketing plans, social media strategies, communication guides for press releases, and interviews, as well as a comprehensive examination of the “Save the Blue Heart of Europe” campaign and its achievements and best practices.

For more tips, please find the video below: 

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For Understanding and using Environmental Law.

Albania’s measures to prevent the deterioration of the environment and to respond to environmental change have been increasingly driven by commitments under multilateral environmental agreements on the one hand, but also by domestic needs on the other. This requires government officials not only to understand how to implement existing international commitments but also how to contribute to the negotiation of new international commitments.

A precondition to that is a good understanding of the development, features, functioning, and implementation of multilateral environmental agreements. On the other hand, civil society actors, and environmentalists often face the inability to understand the legal complexity of international environmental law and how to use it in their daily work.

The purpose of this handbook is to provide an overview of international environmental law, focusing on some important multilateral environmental agreements known to the general public.

To help CSOs understand the basics of international engagement, this handbook is divided into several sections. In the first part, is given a general information on international environmental law and its historical development. While in the second part is given an explanation of environmental conventions about the entry into force, their functioning, and implementation. In this section is also given a practical guidance to CSOs so they can understand the mechanism of compliance and the conventions’ implementation in practice.

Based on this information, the third part provides an overview of environmental law in Albania focusing briefly on horizontal environmental legislation. The fourth part is built around the practical implementation of national and international environmental legislation focusing on the case of the Vjosa River and the legal battle followed by EcoAlbania.

The target audience for this handbook is basically the CSOs that work in the field of environment, but it can also be practically used by other stakeholders that seek to understand commitments under multilateral environmental agreements.

For more tips, please find the video below: 

The manual is produced in Albanian and English.

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EcoAlbania shares the experience of Vjosa Campaign with environmental CSOs in North Macedonia and Kosovo

On May 18 and 19, 2022, the next 2 forums with the theme “Vjosa Campaign – an inspiration for activism”were held in North Macedonia and Kosovo.

In cooperation with the organization EkoSvest, EcoAlbania shared its experience of the Vjosa campaign with the colleagues in Skopje. Our team focused on the work done with the media and the legal strategy followed in the case of Vjosa as a case of success and motivation for activists and organizations in the region.

Special importance was given to the tactics and continuous efforts to stop the 2 hydropower plants, of Pocem and Kalivaç, the protection of the Vjosa River and its tributaries, as well as the awareness activities or the way of transmitting messages. During the meeting, was raised also the issue of lack of cooperation between the NGO-s.

While in Kosovo, a meeting was organized with the GAIA organization to share with them the experience of the Vjosa Campaign, which appears to be involved in the campaign against the HPP in the Lepenicë River located in the Sharri National Park. During the meeting, the actions taken by Gaia and the community from the beginning of their commitment until now were discussed. Environmental law and media awareness manuals were distributed to help them further with the campaign.

This forum is part of the tour of forums organized within the project “Campaign for Vjosa – inspiration for activism” This project aims to share the experience of EcoAlbania during the last 8 years in the campaign “To save the blue heart of Europe”, with national and regional NGOs as one of the main actors in undertaking and leading campaigns for the protection of nature.

The next meeting will take place in Greece on June 15, 2022.

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EcoAlbania launched the Forum Tour “Vjosa Campaign – inspiration for activism” in the Balkans

Since its establishment in December 2014, EcoAlbania has implemented a campaign for the protection of the Vjosa River, which aims to raise public awareness of the ecological values of the Vjosa River, and protect it from plans to build HPPs.

Thanks to the experience of the last 8 years, comes with the project “Campaign for Vjosa – inspiration for activism in Albania” to share this experience with national and regional NGOs as one of the main actors in undertaking and directing nature protection campaigns. As part of the project, tour of forums was launched in neighboring countries, with which cooperation can be very strong on environmental issues that affect both sides.

The first forum took place on April 29, 2022 in Tirana at the Heinrich Böll Foundation. There where 12 participants from civil society organizations, a mix between activists, young people who aim to increase their knowledge and people who have invested years in environmental protection and biodiversity.

During the meeting was discussed about the campaign “Save the blue earth of Europe” – The case of Vjosa, explaining the steps taken by the group of partner organizations in this campaign. Olsi Nika, CEO of EcoAlbania gave a full overview of the challenges and successes of the campaign focusing in particular on media relations and the legal battle. With the participants were also shared 2 practical manuals: “Legal tools to set up a litigation strategy” and “Techniques to raise awareness through the media”, to come to their aid during their campaigns.

At the end of the activity, an open discussion was held in the form of a conversation during which questions and suggestions were made on how we can all improve together in the initiative to protect nature.

The next meetings will be organized in Montenegro, Kosovo, Northern Macedonia and Greece starting from Montenegro on May 2, 2022.

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