Journalists learn green reporting
By Sopo Datishvili
Wednesday, April 8The Regional Environmental Centre for the Caucasus (REC) gave a presentation of the work of journalists from Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia, who had been part of a project entitled “The contribution to environment dialogues of the mass media, government and civil society,” at the Sheraton Metechi Palace hotel on April 6. The project was financed by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF).
Organizers and participants from the three countries summed up the project’s achievements and defined future challenges. One of the most important of these is to ensure future cooperation between the mass media, NGOs and the Government in tackling environmental problems.
Executive Director of REC Caucasus Malak Shukurova highlighted the necessity of professional competence among journalists working on environmental and ecological issues. “In Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, eco-journalism unfortunately isn’t very popular, though it is a very important field of journalism in general and needs specially trained reporters. Ecological problems should be presented to society from different angles,” she said.
As part of this project journalists attended special training which raised their knowledge of environmental issues. 11 media tours were arranged, which also involved local NGOs and environmental experts. The journalists who participated had barely a negative word to say about them and underlined their satisfaction. “This project gave us a lot. There are no borders for nature and that was proved by the relations between the three participant countries in this project. Our region, the Caucasus, is very rich in high quality natural phenomena and it is our common duty to save them,” said Azerbaijani journalist Gulya Suleymanova.
Gela Mtiulishvili, a participating journalist from Kakheti, asked REC Caucasus to arrange further exchange tours to give Georgian journalists the possibility of seeing ecological problems in neighbouring countries. “Working on environmental issues is always difficult for journalists. It needs special training and expert knowledge. REC Caucasus gave us the possibility to get involved in this project and receive all the necessary knowledge and experience to enable us to work in this field in future,” he added.
A new digital map of the Caucasus was also unveiled at the presentation, which will act as a data source for journalists. It will be available at the official site of REC Caucasus and all interested reporters will be able to learn more about the region’s geography.