Internews’ Earth Journalism Network is pleased to announce the re-launch of our successful Biodiversity Media Initiative, which will work to improve media coverage of biodiversity and conservation issues in places where information is most under threat and most urgently needed. These grants have been made possible thanks to a second grant from Arcadia, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin.
In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, which is thought to have arisen through human contact with wildlife and which has exacerbated some of the threats facing biodiversity worldwide, the re-launch of this project is critically timed to highlight these threats and discuss potential solutions.
Previous work under the Biodiversity Media Initiative saw our grantees investigate the black market for Jaguar body parts in Latin America, report on a controversial planned waterway trade route in Belarus and Ukraine and raise awareness of the likely impacts of a planned road, the Marginal de la Selva, through the Colombian Amazon. The latter story created a media storm that resulted in the then-President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, suspending plans for the road’s construction, citing the severe ecological impacts that the road would have on the region.
As in the first phase of this project, we will provide Biodiversity Media Grants to organisations to build capacity for reporting, Biodiversity Story Grants to journalists to produce stories on pressing biodiversity issues as well as innovative, potentially scalable conservation solutions, and Biodiversity Fellowships for journalists to attend the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity’s COP15 conference in China.
Expanding on our previous work, we will also be hosting a series of webinars on biodiversity-related topics, as well as producing an online course to support better reporting on biodiversity issues and their solutions. New for this project will also be the introduction of Biodiversity Scholarships, which will enable journalists to apply for funding that will allow them to attend international conferences and report on them independently.
To kick off this new three-year project, we have announced a call for Biodiversity Media Grant applications, which are due to be submitted by October 15th, 2020. These grants will be available for projects based in lower- and middle-income countries with a focus on training and capacity building to improve reporting on threats to biodiversity, and conservation solutions. You can find more details and a link to the application here.
“We are delighted to be able to renew our biodiversity media work at this critical time,” said Mike Shanahan, EJN’s Biodiversity Media Initiative Director. “The pandemic is putting pressures on wildlife as jobs in ecotourism disappear, tropical forests are being burned and cleared to feed growing demand for commodities, and the impacts of climate change are intensifying. Media coverage of the biodiversity crisis and what it means for humanity will be essential if we are to stem the loss of species and secure the services that nature provides.”
Other activities will be announced later this year and into 2021 so please keep a look out for more opportunities via the EJN website and our social media feeds.