Award-winning journalists from five countries participated in an environmental journalism workshop in Kazakhstan, producing twenty stories in Russian and English.
The second eco-media festival was initiated by the Environmental Press Centre of Kazakhstan's NGO Eco-Forum and a group of associated Central Asian NGOs. The festival followed last years in Bishkek. The project was funded through a grant programme of the Regional Environmental Centre for Central Asia, GRID-Arendal contributed matching funds. The award ceremony on 11 November in Almaty was attended by a number of key stakeholders including the Ministry of the Environment. It brought together winning print, radio and television journalists from five CA countries in nominations the press, radio and TV. Winning printed works were distributed and TV programmes demonstrated.
Besides being and excellent networking opportunity, the festival award ceremony brought together environmental journalists from the five countries for participation in an environmental media training workshop lead by John Bennett (GRID-Arendal), Paul Brown (The Guardian) and Alex Kirby (BBC).The training was practical and centred around investigating a concrete case: a proposal to lift a ban on importing radioactive waste into Kazakhstan. The programme included an investigation of available background information, meetings with sources from both the governmental and non-governmental sectors, and drafting and discussing the stories among "students" and "trainers".
Following the media festival and training in Almaty, the international journalists went on a three-day media tour of the Northern Caspian area. The issues examined included AGIP-KCO's planned extraction of offshore oil and construction of a gas/oil processing plant near Atyrau; TenghizChevroil's operations and sulfur storage; declining beluga sturgeon stocks, and other Caspian-specific issues. GRID-Arendal-facilitated Caspian assessment report served as a general background information source. Detailed site-specific information was collected through interviews with the sources based in Atyrau such as the AGIP-KCO oil consortium, TenghizChevroil oil consortium, Oil & Chemical Institute; the regional office of the Ministry of the Environment, the state-licensed fish canning enterprise, local fishermen, NGOs, journalists, and the trade union.