By Bounfaeng Phaymanivong
Phnom Penh, Cambodia, September 21, 2015
Journalists from the Asean countries of Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia gathered in Phnom Penh this week to learn about energy and hydropower development trends in the region. The cost of various hydropower projects, their benefits and their positive and negative impacts on the environment and local residents were also topics of discussion.
Speaking at the event, Mr Jeff Rutherford, an experienced journalism trainer, said it was important for Asean journalists to learn about hydropower development and sustainable methods of development, especially taking into account the effects of climate change in the region.
“At the same time, young journalists can learn how to balance their story ideas when it comes to writing an investigative story on the development of hydropower projects,” Mr Rutherford said.
A participant from Myanmar, Ms Theingi Htun, said the course was a great opportunity for her because she could share her new knowledge of environmental issues in the Mekong region with her readers. “I hope to share my experiences with readers about the environmental issues in Cambodia, which are closely related to the development of hydropower dams,” she said.
The course included a visit to the Lower Sesan II dam in Sesan district, Stung Treng province. Course participants interviewed the chiefs of some of the villages that had been affected by the dam and talked to local residents about resettlement and compensation issues.
The workshop, entitled ‘Mekong Matters Journalism Workshop: The Benefits and Costs of Hydropower’, was conducted by the Mekong Partnership for the Environment (MPE), whose implementing partners are Internews and Pact.
The workshop also aimed to produce journalism of a high standard and equip participants with sound journalism skills.