Cambodia has lost more than a quarter of its forests over the last 20 years. Thousands of Vietnamese are fleeing their homes in the Mekong Delta. Residents in Laos are shocked by the price of electricity, despite living in the “battery of Southeast Asia.” In Thailand, droughts and floods wreak havoc on crops.
What’s driving these changes? Who is most affected? How are environmental issues connected to social and economic trends? And what’s being done to protect residents and their livelihoods
These were some of the many questions explored by 30 journalists from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam during the 2021 Mekong Data Journalism Fellowship, held from May to December 2021.
Fellows learned to access and analyze public data sets on topics such as renewable energy, dams, fish catches, salt intrusion, mangrove forests, erosion and more. About 250 million people live in the Lower Mekong River Basin, which has seen dramatic change and development over recent decades.
After several weeks of online training, the Fellows dug deep into topics of interest. Their data-driven stories sought explanations from experts, accountability from government officials, and solutions from all levels of society. They then applied story-telling techniques to make their data findings relevant.
The 2021 Mekong Data Journalism Fellowship is a collaboration between the Internews Earth Journalism Network (EJN), the East-West Center and the Stimson Center to provide journalists from the Mekong region the opportunity to gain an increased understanding of the issues relating to water security along the Mekong River Basin, the availability of open data and step-by-step guidance to produce impactful and data-driven media stories that will raise awareness of water security challenges and solutions in the Mekong region.