In the context of a country best by extractive mining disputes and their environmental damage, the NGO Comunicaciones Aliadas (COAL) sought to achieve more balanced coverage of socio-environmental conflicts in Peru with a strong focus on the right to information. The project trained 30 journalists and communicators (11 women and 19 men) among them 15 representatives of mass and alternative media and 15 representatives of social organizations. The training workshops led to the creation of a “Study of regional and local news coverage of socio-environmental conflicts” published digitally and a 53-page “Manual of news coverage of socio-environmental conflicts” with a focus on the management and transformation of conflicts. 42 journalists and communicators (17 women and 25 men) from 16 media outlets and 8 social organizations received these documents at a launch attended by representatives of the Ministry of the Environment and the People’s Ombudsman. A further 250 journalists, communicators and opinion leaders received CDs of the manual and study and 1,248 journalists and social leaders throughout Peru received electronic copies. The training workshops provided an opportunity for participants to get to know "computer assisted journalism" (digital journalism) as an important resource for investigative journalists. A further project outcome was a request by the World Bank’s communications officer for Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela to present the findings to 30 World Bank and mining company communicators as well as others taking part by teleconference from Bolivia, Ecuador and Washington. Comunicaciones Aliadas was also invited to present the project’s findings at a meeting organized by Peru’s Ministry of the Environment.
Assessment: The project achieved its expected outcomes in terms of training and greatly exceeded the scope of its impact by attracting attention at the level of the national government and through the pick-up of its news coverage manual. The project achieved greater visibility for COAL as a leading organization working on “preventive communication”. All the materials produced were shared with Red Muqui, a collective of 29 social organizations promoting the environmental rights of communities affected by extractive mining. One of the main lessons learned was the importance of working on preventive communication and persuading journalists to be more responsible in covering every stage of a conflict.
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