EJN Asia-Pacific Project Embarks on Second Phase

children from an Indigenous community in a field

EJN Asia-Pacific Project Embarks on Second Phase

For the last four years, the Earth Journalism Network (EJN) Asia-Pacific project has been supporting journalists, media outlets, journalism networks and other local partners in the region to build their capacity and produce environment- and climate-related stories.  

Launched in August 2017, the project has since trained 11,258 journalists in a range of environmental topics, provided story grants and mentorship to 306 journalists, supported 52 media outlets and civil society organizations to implement environmental journalism projects, brought 38 journalists to report directly from the UNFCCC Climate COP and produced 778 original stories that have received more than a million views. We have also documented how the investment in good environmental journalism has generated concrete returns, in the form of policy changes and actions following media coverage. 

Now, EJN is pleased to announce the launch of a second phase of the EJN Asia-Pacific project, with a new grant from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). The second phase will be implemented over three years, from January 2022 to December 2024. 

The EJN Asia-Pacific project will continue to work towards improving the quantity and quality of environmental coverage, and in turn contribute to greater accountability in environmental governance and sustainable development in Asia and the Pacific. 

“Stories that report on and explain the drivers and impacts of environmental and climate change — along with how local communities and vulnerable groups are responding to change and implementing solutions that build resilience — are often missing or neglected by the local mainstream media across Asia and the Pacific region,” said Kok Eng Amy Sim, EJN’s Senior Asia Program Manager.  

As newsrooms budgets get increasingly squeezed, EJN seeks to bridge the gap so that journalists have the funding support, training and mentorship they need to pursue in-depth or investigative stories, which may involve extensive field reporting to speak with those who are most affected by an environmental crisis that they least contributed to. 

Many of these stories have catalyzed positive change on the ground, their impact evaluated through Internews’ outcome harvesting methodology. For instance, an EJN-supported series on a new Philippine “eco-city” development led the government to address the displacement of the Aeta Indigenous peoples. In the Solomon Islands, a grantee’s exposé of illegal logging activity resulted in the suspension of two timber companies’ licenses. Delayed for 10 years, a Fijian coastal community threatened by sea level rise was relocated after an EJN journalist’s report drew attention to their plight. And in Pakistan, an EJN grantee’s coverage of the impact of heatwaves in Karachi slums sparked policy action to award dwellers in informal settlements protection and land rights. These are just several of many impacts we documented over the years. 

Building and expanding on the achievements and momentum of the first phase of EJN Asia-Pacific, Phase 2 of the project will continue its support to local and regional environmental journalism, with emphasis on four key areas: 

1) supporting local solutions and providing more local-language resources for local journalists; 

2) bringing more attention to environmental injustice and amplifying the voices of those who are disproportionately impacted by environmental degradation; 

3) supporting solutions-based and actionable information to overcome news fatigue and disengagement that may come with the abundance of “doom and gloom” environmental reports, and; 

4) adopting the One Health approach to facilitate knowledge exchange and collaboration across disciplines and support collaborative media reporting on topics relating to ecosystem health, human health and animal health. 

woman pointing in field
In the Philippines, Aeta leader Petronila Muñoz points out the damage done by the golf course being built on her tribe’s ancestral territory / Credit: Kathleen Lei Limayo. 

Check out our Asia-Pacific project page for more updates.  

Banner image: The traditions of the Ifugao are closely bound with tinawon rice and its cultivation / Credit: Karlston Lapniten.

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