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Journalists have role to play in Green Economy transition

A media masterclass organised under the EU-funded Greening Economies in the European Union’s Eastern Neighbourhood (EaP GREEN) programme has helped equip 31 journalists from the six Eastern Partnership countries with techniques and skills for reporting on Green Economy topics.


Journalists not only educate the general public on important environment and climate related issues, but also question statements by decision makers and play a role in holding them to account.


The masterclass featured an interactive session with renowned former BBC journalist Alex Kirby, who stressed that he was “not here to tell you how to write stories, but to share my experience of mistakes so that you too can learn from them”.


During the event, the reporters were first briefed on EaP GREEN activities with practical project results in their countries, the Environment for Europe process and the main conference topics of Green Economy, air quality and health addressed in Batumi.


Examples of concrete pledges for green economy actions made by ministers at the event were presented, including those from the journalists’ countries of origin.


The Coordinator and co-author of UNEP’s flagship Green Economy report further linked topics from the media headlines in Eastern Partnership countries with the Green Economy concept, comparing this to a restaurant that provides inclusive economic, social and environmental services.


From theory to practice


Tips were later shared ranging from where to best sit in a press conference, how to identify a catchy news story at big events and the importance of the difference between reporting and campaigning in Alex Kirby’s masterclass session. After learning from his personal experience and challenges, journalists formed groups to prepare news articles on the conference themes and discussed these with the Climate News Network founder.


In a mock press conference, the reporters then practiced probing questions and deciphering replies from ministers. The exercise was put into practice on the spot when journalists interviewed national delegations for news stories to be published in print, online and via radio.


“I got a lot of inspiration from Alex Kirby and once again realized that choosing to be an environmental reporter was the right thing for me because that is how you can push important questions and problems into the agenda of politics and economics in your country,” said Gohar Hakobyan from Armenia, one of the journalists attending the “extremely useful” masterclass.


The journalists also had the chance to meet with Matthew Billot, UNEP’s Head of the Global Environment Outlook – and the two Co-chairs of the report’s pan-European assessment which was launched during the conference.


Journalists from the six Eastern Partnership countries of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Republic of Moldova and Ukraine attended the masterclass, which was organised by UNEP together with the Georgian Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Protection.


For more pictures from the masterclass click here and for more information please write to

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