MediaLab Environment

Environmental journalism around the Mediterranean Rim

In Arab countries, space devoted to environmental news remains marginal in the media. The topic is often mentioned only sporadically, to cover natural disasters and major international conferences. Yet, this type of news also needs long-term analysis.



October 2019 - September 2021

Total budget


Environment Gender equality The French-speaking world

MediaLab Environment helps to raise awareness of environmental challenges by encouraging journalists to devote more coverage to issues such as water, climate justice and sustainable development. This project mobilises dozens of media professionals on environmental issues by organising discussion among journalists, scientists and civil society.

In 2021, consulting firm OTE Research was asked to conduct a survey to analyse the role of environmental journalism and how it was shaping up in the six countries involved in the project. The results were presented at the International Journalism Conference in Tours, France in October.

Suggesting resources to improve the coverage of environmental issues

CFI made suitable resources available to meet the needs of journalists by publishing Le courrier du climat (“Climate correspondence”). Drawn up by author and journalist Khaled Sulaiman, this toolkit lists key notions and sources for climate change and environmental issues. Presented at an event on the fringe of the 14th forum organised by ARIJ (Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism), Le courrier du climat garnered great interest among the 200 journalists attending.

Some 20 journalists received support in order to produce content from a solutions journalism angle, to provide more in-depth environmental information, analysing civic and scientific response rather than merely describing issues. The beneficiaries produced 52 videos and podcasts, on topics such as climate justice and gender equality, electronic waste management, employment and the environment and issues such as the increasing scarcity of water.

“MediaLab Environment is an arena for learning and sharing. I managed to hone my knowledge and expand my network, at meetings and training courses. I have become a journalist with a cause.”
Youssef Askour, journalist for Maroc Culture

Fostering discussion and networking among journalists and scientists

A dozen journalists also attended workshops on energy transition, water, sustainable agriculture and public health, led by researchers from the French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD) and a journalist from the Arabic-language newsroom at France 24. They went on to publish articles on these themes.

Lastly, in December 2021, 300 journalists took part in a debate – organised in partnership with Free Press Unlimited and Planetary Security Initiative during the ARIJ forum – on links between safety and climate issues in the Arab world. Led by Tatiana Massaa, from France 24, the panel included journalists Iman Al Fares (beneficiary of the MediaLab Environment project), Fatima Jihad, Khaled Sulaiman and a scientist in urban planning and the environment, Karim Algendy. They especially addressed the role of journalists in raising awareness among people as to the connections between safety and climate issues.

“It was an important debate (…) Several journalists stated that it had attracted their attention to the link between conflict and climate issues in the region.”
Boris Van Westering, Coordinator of the programme Middle East and North Africa, Free Press Unlimited

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