From stories covering the worst haze crisis in the region to the latest developments in the green building movement, Eco-Business.com reports on a wide range of environmental and sustainability issues affecting the Asia Pacific.
For its timely, high-quality reports and for advancing sustainability issues from the business perspective, Eco-Business.com was recognised for its efforts at the Asian Environmental Journalism Awards (AEJA) on Thursday.
One of 13 winners this year, the Singapore-based website beat other media giants to clinch the Merit Award for the Lee Foundation Excellence in Environmental Reporting by a Media Organisation category.
In the awards citation, judges said the site’s quality of stories and complementary suite of services to help companies in Asia become more sustainable were “remarkable”.
Eco-Business managing director, James Hosking, received the award from Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information, at the AEJA ceremony held at the InterContinental Singapore. The awards, in its second year, is organised by the Singapore Environment Council.
The India office of the Thomson Reuters Foundation received the main award for this category. The organisation was chosen for showing the effects of sustainability issues on communities around the world, and for discussing solutions that can be adopted to reduce impact.
Founder and editor of Eco-Business, Jessica Cheam, said the team was “honoured to be recognised for our stories as among the best in reporting, alongside much more established news organisations.”
“It’s been very hard work starting a publication from scratch and establishing ourselves in the region. But I am glad we have made our presence felt and made a difference by covering often underlooked issues relating to sustainability,” she said.
The awards were started by SEC with the aim of highlighting the high-quality reporting of the state of the environment in the region. Jose Raymond, SEC executive director, noted at the event how he wants more journalists to cover the challenges of globalisation and climate change, since this will allow the public to “come to terms with environmental issues and take on a larger role of striving for a more sustainable future”.
These journalists have shown qualities like passion, persistence and adaptability to partake in environmental journalism. It is definitely not easy to address environmental issues as it is a huge burden on their shoulders to deliver a strong story to initiate any change when it comes to environmental sustainability
Nicholas Fang, Nominated Member of Parliament and AEJA judge
Aside from the media organisation award category, the Awards have four other categories: the Coca-Cola Environmental Story of the Year, the CDL Environmental Journalist of the Year, Environmental Blogger of the Year, and the CITIC Telecom International Environmental Photograph of the Year.
India-based Stella Paul of the Inter Press Services won the best story award. She wrote about the social implications of drought and how it is forcing Indian women to go into the sex trade business in order to survive their impoverished conditions.
“Her highly compelling and thought-provoking story engaged the readers and raised awareness about a less publicised impact of climate change,” said Laura Davidson, strategic communications manager of Coca-Cola Singapore and Malaysia, which sponsored the award.
The rest of the entries, which saw a threefold increase from 2012, were of a high calibre also, Davidson noted.
Jing Li of the South China Morning Post – who submitted stories on the pollution from petrochemical plants in Shandong, an interview with China’s first Environment Minister, and the poaching of wild birds in China’s southern rural areas – clinched the top environmental journalist award.
Esther An, CDL general manager for corporate affairs and head of corporate social responsibility, said: “Journalists like Jing Li possess the integrity and courage to uncover and report the truth… Environmental issues are as real as the consequences they bring and what better way to bring awareness to the masses than through the representation of the people in the field.”
Kavitha Rao from India, working for The Guardian, won the environmental blogger of the year award for the breadth of topics she covers. While best environmental photograph award went to Sridhara KS of Vijay Karnataka-Regional Daily, who grabbed the judges’ attention with his shot of elephants and people in conflict in India.
This newly introduced category can be a tool that is “powerful enough to speak to us and create awareness on the real issues that are happening to our neighbouring countries,” added Alan Lim, founder and photographer mentor of the School of Photography Singapore and one of the 10 judges on the panel.
These environmental problems bear a huge difference to those faced 20 years ago, Nicholas Fang, another AEJA judge and Nominated Member of Parliament, noted.
“These journalists have shown qualities like passion, persistence and adaptability to partake in environmental journalism. It is definitely not easy to address environmental issues as it is a huge burden on their shoulders to deliver a strong story to initiate any change when it comes to environmental sustainability,” he added.
Asian Environmental Journalism Awards 2013 Winners
Coca-Cola Environmental Story of the Year
- Winner: Stella Paul from India (Inter Press Services)
- Merit Winner: Wang Yan from China (News China Magazine)
- Merit Winner: Meng Yew Choong from Malaysia (Star Publications)
CDL Environmental Journalist of the Year
- Winner: Jing Li from China (South China Morning Post)
- Merit Winner: Neo Chai Chin from Singapore (TODAY)
- Merit Winner: Meng Yew Choong from Malaysia (Star Publications)
Environmental Blogger of the Year
- Winner: Kavitha Rao from India (The Guardian)
- Merit Winner: Eugene Tay from Singapore (Green Future Solutions)
- Merit Winner: Rina Saeed Khan from Pakistan (DAWN Media Group)
CITIC Telecom International Environmental Photograph of the Year
- Winner: Sridhara KS from India (Vijay Karnataka-Regional Daily)
- Merit Winner: Douglas Ho from Singapore (Singapore Press Holdings)
- Merit Winner: Andri Tambunan from Indonesia (freelance)
Lee Foundation Excellence in Environmental Reporting by a Media Organisation
- Winner: Thomson Reuters Foundation (India Office)
- Merit Winner: Eco-Business.com (Singapore)
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