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Asia-Pacific Investigative Environmental Story Grants

Call for Proposals

Published on
05 Nov 2019
Tree by an excavator
31 March 2020, 04:59 PM, Asia/Bangkok (UTC +07) info.ejn [at]

Notice to applicants: These calls remain open. We will select grantees based on the understanding that most if not all grantees will only be able to do the field reporting when the Covid-19 situation improves and travel restrictions are relaxed.

**Update: Please note applications will be accepted on a rolling basis with deadlines updated quarterly. The next closing date is March 31, 2020.

With the world undergoing dramatic environmental change, we believe it is increasingly important for journalists to dig deep into stories that uncover the various drivers of degradation, point out the actors and hold them to account and push decision-makers to respond.

We’re seeking stories that go beyond answering the basic who, what, when and where, and investigate how and why governments, businesses and financial institutions are acting in ways that directly or indirectly exploit our land and natural resources, and outline the repercussions.

Environmental issues are often highly complex, and we encourage journalists to unravel the intricacies of and linkages between the conditions that enable these exploitations to take place and explain their combined impacts on our planet.

Story proposals should focus on one of the following topics:

  • Wildlife trafficking. Stories could investigate trafficking supply chains or the demand driving the trade in a particular wildlife species. Who is involved, what are the enabling factors and how are the authorities or communities involved working to crack down on this practice? What threats does the trade pose to the surrounding ecosystem?
  • Land clearing for large-scale farming and economic development. Stories could explore demand drivers of this development. How are these activities contributing to greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, loss of fertile soil, land rights issues and conflicts? What actors are influencing development policies? Have environmental impact assessments been carried out? Does the development project meet environmental regulations?
  • Extractive industries. Stories could look at companies involved in mining or oil and gas extraction, for example. Are they fighting legislation that addresses climate change? Are they financing politicians or backing groups that deny it? What impact are their activities having on local communities and who is in opposition? Are environmental defenders who rally against these industries being threatened or attacked?
  • Ocean pollution. Stories could address what is causing the pollution and what impact those activities will have on marine ecosystems. Who is responsible? Who is responding to this issue and how? What effect is it having on coastal communities and marine tourism?
  • Air pollution. Stories could investigate government policies on this issue and the health impacts, particularly on vulnerable communities. What is the connection between air pollution and climate change and what is being done to address it?


Applicants may propose an idea for an investigation that doesn’t fit within one of these five topics as long as they can justify its environmental salience. We’re particularly interested in stories that uncover corruption, address the safety of environmental defenders and call out business practices that are impacting negatively on the environment and the lives of local communities.

Furthermore, it’s often the poor and powerless that suffer most from the impacts of environmental degradation and climate change – and are less able to adapt to them – so we encourage stories that report on potential solutions and address how vulnerable communities are responding to challenges. We’re also interested in stories that utilize relevant data to illustrate the issue in a compelling and easy-to-understand way.

This round of grants comes from EJN’s Asia-Pacific program and is funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).


For the purposes of this grant call, we are accepting applications from South Asia, Southeast Asia, East Asia and the Pacific region but not Australia or New Zealand.

Applications are open to journalists (online, print, television, radio) and other expert media practitioners with experience in investigative reporting and covering environmental issues. We encourage applications from freelancers and staff from all types of media organizations – international, national, local and community-based.

Story Approach & Format

Applicants should provide a detailed budget with justification for the amount requested using the template provided below. We have not set a specific amount because we are asking you to consider what you'll need to do this type of reporting. We do ask that the budgets be reasonable and account for costs necessary for reporting without being extraneous. We expect that stories will be produced with equipment the applicant already has access to (including cameras, drones, lighting, tripods, etc.) and will not consider budgets that heavily focus on procuring new supplies. You can download the budget template now by clicking on this link

Stories can be produced in any language. But applicants who intend to write or produce stories in their local language need to also include an English translation. Please include the cost for translation in the budget, if necessary.

Those who are awarded grants are free to publish or broadcast their stories in their affiliated media as long as EJN and Sida are also given rights to edit, publish, broadcast and distribute them freely. Freelance reporters should demonstrate a plan for publication or broadcast and are encouraged to provide a letter of interest from an editor.  

Judging Criteria

Applicants should consider the following points when devising their story proposals:

  • Relevance: Does the proposal meet the criteria and objectives? Why does this story matter and to whom? Is the main idea, context and overall value to the target audience clearly defined?
  • Angle: If the story has been covered by mainstream media, does your proposal bring new insights into the topic or offer a fresh angle?
  • Impact: Does the proposal have an investigative element that will inform and engage, draw attention, trigger debate and urge action?
  • Innovative storytelling: We encourage the use of multi-media, creative approaches and data visualization.


How to Apply

  • You can apply by clicking on the "Apply Now" button on the top right of this page.
  • You must submit three samples of stories or links to reports related to investigative environmental reporting. You’ll be asked to upload these once you start the application process so please have them ready beforehand.
  • Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis with deadlines updated quarterly. We will consider applications as they come in.
  • For inquiries, please contact [email protected]


Banner image: A lone tree on a hill by an excavator / Credit: qinghill via Unsplash

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