Media, Peace & Environment
MAP has started up the first project on Media, Peace & Environment in Lebanon with a sub-title: “Environmental Media, Peacebuilding and Conflict Transformation”. It aims to encourage the role of media in a constructive coverage of environmental issues towards a more peaceful and secure society in Lebanon. It seeks not only to reinforce the role of journalists and reporters to highlight the problems, threats and dangers related to the environment, but also to bring attention to possible solutions and put pressure on decision makers to implement them. This project aims thus to strengthen the role of media generally and the concept of peace journalism specifically in environmental governance and sustainable development.
It aims to contribute to the capacities for engagement in environmental awareness not only media professionals, but also academics, civil society leaders and policy-makers that deal with media. Also, it has resulted in generating, accessing, and using information and knowledge about the role of peace journalism in environmental coverage and governance.
Under the patronage of the Ministry of Information and the Indian Embassy, and in collaboration with the UNDP-implemented GEF Small Grants Program and with the support of the European Union, MAP organized the First National Conference on Media, Peace & the Environment on the 16th of April 2016 at the Riviera Hotel in Raouche.
As part of its Media, Peace and Environment Program (MPE), this intellectual activity invites the public to discover the links between Environment and Peace, Peace and Media, and Media and Environment and launches the concept of Environmental Peace Journalism.
15 guest speakers from different specialties and more than 150 attendees – of whom many were journalists, government officials, activists and researchers- have joined the conference to share their opinion and to explore the links that MAP has proposed, based on their experiences, each one in regard to his/her own field.
The conference tackled different topics by utilizing a peace approach to environmental media, environmental education, climate change, natural resources management (especially oil and gas), Lebanon’s garbage crisis and the civic movement.
The aim of the conference was to generate, access, and use information about the role of peace journalism in environmental coverage and governance while enhancing the capacity of young journalists and activists when it comes to environmental peacebuilding. It also aspired to increase collaboration between environmental specialists, activists, civil society leaders, academics, policymakers, and media creators and to encourage them to focus more on the ties between the environment, conflict and peace.
In addition to hosting Lebanon’s First National Conference on Media, Peace and the Environment, MAP’s Environmental Media, Peacebuilding and Conflict Transformation Project included a training retreat on environmental peace journalism for young journalists and international affairs students and a public discussion on the role of media in environmental peacebuilding. Following the National Conference, MAP will be producing the world’s first publication dedicated to Media, Peace & the Environment
Environmental Peace Journalism Training Retreat
MAP’s first major event of 2015 was Lebanon’s first Training Retreat dedicated to the intersection between peace journalism and environmental concerns. Under its Media, Peace and Environment Program (MPE) and within an Environmental Media, Peacebuilding and Conflict Transformation Project, MAP organized a Training Retreat on “The Role of Peace Journalism in Environmental Governance and Sustainable Development in Lebanon”. The Retreat was held in collaboration with the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Program (SGP) implemented by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and supported by the European Union (EU).
The four-day retreat took place in Dhour El Choueir’s Evangelical Conference Center on April 6th-9th, 2015. More than fifteen journalism, media and international affairs students from different Lebanese universities participated in the training. Over fifteen environmental experts, journalists and researchers attended the event as trainers.
Ms. Vanessa Bassil, Founder, President and Executive Director of MAP, launched the retreat, emphasizing that it was the first of its kind. The Media, Peace and Environment Program (MPE) seeks to reach positive peace by addressing indirect violence represented in culture and societal structures. The retreat encouraged participants to engage in environmental peace journalism and create a pressure group to find solutions for pressing environmental problems in Lebanon that might cause or result from conflicts.
Public Discussion on Media, Peace & Environment
Under the Media, Peace and Environment Program (MPE), MAP held a Public Discussion on the intersection between media, peace and the environment on May 26th, 2015 at its headquarters in Hamra’sAltCity. The discussion was held in collaboration with the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Program (SGP) implemented by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and supported by the European Union (EU). More than twenty people from a variety of disciplines, including activists, journalists, environmentalists and participants from the earlier Environmental Peace Journalism Training Retreat attended.
Ms. Vanessa Bassil, Founder, President and Executive Director of MAP, launched the discussion by speaking about “the importance of the meeting in the mainstream press in regards to the concept of peace, and in determining its relationship with the environment.” Antoine Abou Moussa, an environmental activist and adviser, afterwards spoke about environmental risks in Lebanon and the global environmental movement. Then, MAP Member Nour Ghoussaini explored the status of local environmental journalism, emphasizing the relative weakness of Lebanon’s environmental media. Annahar journalist Pascale Azar spoke about her experience covering environmental issues, the violence enacted on the environment by all stakeholders and the potential for using media as a means for pressuring concerned actors and impacting citizens. Al-Akhbar journalist Bassam Kantar then presented the challenges facing environmental journalism in Lebanon, calling for the establishment of a union for environmental journalists and the consolidation of the relationship between the media and civil society to help address those challenges.
In the second part of the discussion, MAP Members shared their diverse experiences within the Media, Peace and Environment program (MPE). Christina Peter emphasized the importance of “breaking the stereotype of environmental journalism,” believing it is necessary for journalists to become interested in this topic as it has a lasting impact on both present and future generations.
The event ended with a cocktail party encouraging all attendees to meet each other and share their own ideas and experiences.