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.