Albania, Info Elbasani: Special focus on environmental journalism

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Several burning ecological problems from the region of Elbasan were resolved thanks to the proactive reporting from the local online portal Info Elbasani. This was achieved thanks to the Engaged Citizens Reporting (ECR) tool that helped the outlet to establish functional synergy with the citizens and non-governmental organizations from the region.

ECR tool is an online questionnaire that gives citizens an opportunity to suggest topics, provide documents and testimonials to the media outlets. This approach pushed the local government to find solutions to the burning environmental issues.

“Municipalities after the publication of the in-depth articles initiated clean-up campaigns, promised to review timber harvesting licences, hold an experts’ meetings to find solutions for the rehabilitation of the Krasta Park, and created task-force to sanction polluters following reporting on the high level of air pollution in the city,” said from Info Elbasani.

Main topics that were covered with the ECR calls for citizens engagement were: air pollution from industrial plants, impact of hydropower plants to the environment, erosion, waste management, and illegal logging.

The outlet had in total 5 ECR calls targeting the citizens of Elbasan and the smaller cities of Librazhd, Gramsh, Peqin and Cerrik. Around 200 people responded by filling the questionnaires, and 15 articles were produced based on data and information provided by citizens. Articles reached around 27,000 people which resulted in an increase of the web page views by 120%.

“ECR helped Info Elbasani to become a stronger actor on environmental issues in the region of Elbasan and to raise the media’s profile and credibility within the community,” said from the outlet.

The callouts particularly set in motion reports from residents of remote rural areas, whose voice is not represented in the local and national media.

Info Elbasan was established in 2016 by a group of local journalists from Elbasan. They are reporting from the whole region of Elbasan, including all 7 municipalities. Info Elbasani has a diverse media content, but it keeps a continuous special focus on environmental challenges of the region.

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