Strengthening Environmental Journalism in Montenegro for Society Building and Democracy

Strengthening Environmental Journalism in Montenegro for Society Building and Democracy

Source of funding

United States

Name of client/donor

U.S. Embassy in Podgorica

Overall project value

EUR 15,718

Date

September 2010 – September 2011

Beneficiary countries

Montenegro

Number of staff

2

During the political, economic and social changes in South Eastern Europe (SEE) in the 1980s and 1990s, the mass media were one of the main channels of environmental information to the public about policy and environmental matters. The development of environmental journalism in SEE was crucial in raising public awareness and encouraging public participation in environmental decision making, and was thus an indispensable component in the process of strengthening democratic processes and building up civil society in SEE countries, including Montenegro.

In line with Montenegro’s efforts to become an active player in pan-European and global integration processes, and to develop a strong democratic society, the overall project goal was to strengthen democratic processes in Montenegro by increasing the capacities of journalists in terms of the quality, accuracy and visibility of reporting on environmental and sustainable development issues in the country and region. The project also aimed to strengthen journalists’ knowledge of specific environmental issues, global trends and EU standards.

The project included capacity-building workshops for journalists involved in both print and electronic media, where topics related to the country’s sustainable development were presented and discussed. Topics included European/national environmental legislation; natural resources management; the role of NGOs in environmental protection decision making; energy efficiency; climate change and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change; waste and wastewater management; strategic environmental assessment and environmental impact assessment; environmental journalism in neighbouring countries (Croatia and Serbia); and the role of the Ministry of Spatial Planning and Environment in environmental protection.

In addition, to foster a competitive spirit among journalists, a contest was organised for the best media coverage of a specific topic of interest to the Montenegrin public. Using the information and knowledge acquired during the workshop, journalists were invited to cover a local study trip (options included the Biogradska Gora National Park, the last remaining relict of rainforest in this part of Europe, or the lead and zinc mine in Mojkovac). The submitted media reports were published not only on the website of the Ministry of Spatial Panning and Environment, but also on popular Montenegrin info portals such as Analitika.

The exchange of information and transfer of knowledge with another country in the region, in the form of a study tour, was an added value.

  • Training, including a study visit to a site with relevance to sustainable development issues in Montenegro (Biogradska Gora National Park or the lead and zinc mine in Mojkovac), for journalists working in electronic and/or print media.
  • A competition for the best environmental reporting/coverage (analytical or news report, thematic broadcast, television report or photo report).
  • A study trip to Serbia/Croatia, including different media and different institutions, for the winner and runner-up in the competition.
  • Trainings
  • Dissemination of information
  • Networking