Environmental journalism has always been a cross-cutting topic. There are journalists in many countries who specialise in environmental topics. However, environmental topics mostly do not have their own department at media outlets. Hence, publishing such media pieces often highly depends on current political processes and above all on current, public discussions. Environmental issues only find their place in the economic, political or social media articles if there is significant public interest.
Marius Hasenheit discussed the role of media, especially social media, in communicating environmental issues in Egypt, at the 61st Cairo Climate Talks. He is a researcher at Ecologic Institute, editor of a print magazine and freelance journalist.
Nowadays, this topic dynamic is supplemented to a certain extent by social media posts featuring environmental topics. The contents, some of which are distributed exorbitantly, are not only based on media articles, but also on small blogs, niche magazines, eyewitness accounts by activists or comments from politicians, business or civil society.
The panel discussed current green movements like the Fridays-For-Future movement or extinction rebellion, which are making broad use of social media. Topics such as data protection, hate speech and corresponding controversial legislative proposals such as the obligation to use clear names were also discussed. At the same time, the role of media as a whole, its scope and possible ways of dealing with environmental issues - including constructive journalism - were also discussed.
A few days after this panel discussion, Marius Hasenheit gave a more in-depth presentation on the topics discussed at the panel for Egyptian journalists and social media experts. On the following day, he conducted a workshop in which environmental contributions were developed by the participants in working groups.
More than 26 articles in various newspapers and magazines in Egypt and the Arab world reported on the event and its topics, including the plastic ban which was introduced in the Red Sea region.