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New Cambodian and Myanmar Journalism Networks Call on Editors and Decision Makers to Support Environmental Reporting

Mekong Partnership for the Environment

At two public fora in October, Cambodian and Myanmar journalists called for editors and decision makers to work on improving environmental reporting and the availability of quality information.

The two separate events brought together reporters, editors and key figures in environmental governance to discuss solutions on enhancing the media’s role in covering stories related to the environmental and social impacts of development.

The events, Cambodia’s “Editor’s Forum on Sustainability” and Myanmar’s “The Health of Rivers” roundtable discussion attracted a combined 73 participants ranging from Cambodia’s Minister of Environment H.E Say Samal to key editors and reporters from the countries’ local media.

The discussions were the first public events for two new journalism networks launched to support media in covering environmental issues. USAID-supported Mekong Partnership for the Environment has seeded the creation of the Myanmar Environmental Journalism Network (MEJN) and the Cambodia Environmental Journalism Network (CEJN – to be officially launched in November by partner Cambodian Institute for Media Studies (CIMS), in partnership with Club of Cambodian Journalists (CCJ).

President of Club of Cambodian Journalists, Mr. Pen Bona fields questions for journalists
President of Club of Cambodian Journalists, Mr. Pen Bona fields questions for journalists (Photo: CCJ)

The CEJN event in Phnom Penh aimed to promote environmental solutions and sustainable development in Cambodia and the Mekong region through local and regional media collaboration, and to raise awareness of environmental issues and solutions via media support by calling media editors to support more coverage of local and regional environmental issues.

The Cambodian forum was presided over by Minister of Environment H.E Say Samal and H.E Meas Sophorn of Undersecretary of State of Ministry of Information. Forty-three news leaders, reporters, EU delegation representatives, and NGO participants shared ideas on how to better engage media in covering crucial stories about the environmental impacts of development projects.

The event included editors and station managers. Mr. Kay Kimsong, Editor-in-Chief from the Phnom Penh Post and Mr. Soy Sopheap, CEO of DAP-News agreed in the forum that their outlets will prioritize reporting on environmental issues, and further cover development projects which are impacting the sustainability of Cambodia.

At least 17 stories were produced covering the event, and/or focusing on comments made by speakers about a range of environmental issues in Cambodia. The group has also been supporting regional journalists by running skills building field trips to the Don Sahong and proposed Sambor dam areas.

Editors and other guests attend the “Editors Forum on Environmental Sustainability,” part of CIM’s MPE project “Strengthening Capacity of Journalists to Address Social and Environmental Impacts in the Mekong Region” (Photo: CCJ)
Editors and other guests attend the “Editors Forum on Environmental Sustainability,” part of CIM’s MPE project “Strengthening Capacity of Journalists to Address Social and Environmental Impacts in the Mekong Region” (Photo: CCJ)

MEJN’s event in Yangon focused on the impact of development on rivers, including Myanmar’s Salween River, which is facing several proposed hydropower dams that could threaten the region’s environment and the communities that depend on its ecosystem. Over 30 participants discussed the threats to the Salween and other rivers, and debated ways in which journalists can better cover these issues.

MEJN was just launched this year, with support from MPE, and already has over 700 members in its facebook group.

CEJN and MEJN are part of MPE’s efforts to support regional media to connect and to report on the costs and benefits of regional development projects, as partners with its Mekong Matters Journalism Network.

 

This is an outreach announcement from the USAIDfunded Mekong Partnership for the Environment(MPE), a key supporter of The Mekong Eye. Mekong Matters and The Mekong Eye are supported by Mekong Partnership for the Environment through Internews’ Earth Journalism Network and Pact. 

Lead Photo: Minister of Environment H.E Say Samal addresses Cambodia’s editors (Photo: CCJ)