A group of journalists in Bhutan, the Himalayan Kingdom perhaps best known for its pursuit of Gross National Happiness, have joined together to create a local network of reporters committed to covering environmental issues.
Working with the financial and technical support of Internews’ Earth Journalism Network and The Third Pole, the Bhutan Forum of Environmental Journalists was launched in October during a three-day workshop organized under the patronage of the Bhutan Media Foundation.
According to Tashi Dorji, a local journalist and former Fellow with the Climate Change Media Partnership, the forum will help by training reporters in skills and technical issues that are useful for covering the environment, and, when possible, by providing opportunities for them to travel to remote regions of the country to cover critical issues that otherwise receive little exposure.
The forum was launched at a three-day workshop held at the Ministry of Information and Communications in Thimphu. As part of the workshop, the group of reporters also went on a field trip to visit the Punatsangchhu hydropower projects being built on the Punakha River, where they learned first-hand about the many controversial aspects of damming and diverting rivers.
“These kinds of networks can be great resources for local journalists, providing peer-to-peer learning, and giving members more clout as they go about trying to dig up information,” says EJN Executive Director James Fahn, who served as a trainer at the workshop. “EJN believes there is strength in numbers, and we’re always looking for ways to help such networks where they exist, and launch them where they don’t.”