Role of media in managing environmental conflicts in Rovinari Thermal Power Plant area, Gorj County, Romania
Abstract: Thermal power plants currently contribute significantly to global energy production. However, they cause a series of environmental conflicts through pollution and environmental degradation processes. In this context, people, as well as a number of environmental organisations, NGOs, and mainly the media play an important role in managing these conflicts. In this study, we aimed to analyse how the media can contribute to the management of environmental conflicts generated by the Rovinari thermal power plant in Gorj County, Romania. Its impact is highly visible in the village of Rogojel (Farcăşeşti township), which is located in the immediate vicinity of the thermal power plant, owing to the noise produced by the conveyor belts and excavators, as well as the air pollution generated by the coal dust. Residents have submitted a series of complaints to the Environmental Guard, the Government, and the European Commission. As a method of investigating the situation, both local and national media, which have become a real agora where citizens express their dissatisfaction were chosen. Ziare.com was chosen as a news archive, where 20 volunteers read 24 news articles. When asked if the article reflects concerns regarding the environment, a total of 276 affirmative answers were obtained. In addition, when volunteers were asked how much violence and tension does the article convey, a total of 136 responses were obtained for maximum violence and 160 for high violence. The Cronbach Alpha index had values of 0.73 and 0.66 in the first and second cases, respectively. The articles and strong words of the volunteers were analysed using NVivo software to calculate their frequency and the degree of correct results. Currently, the situation is still open to debate, beyond the unlikely solution of relocating the entire locality or closing the thermal power plant.