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ARENDAL, Norway, 8 Feb 2023 - GRID-Arendal is proud to announce the winners of its latest round of Investigative Environmental Journalism Grants for 2023, who will each receive 20,000 Norwegian kroner (approximately €2,000) to support their investigations and subsequent publication of their findings. The organisation’s Investigative Environmental Journalism grant programme has been supporting journalists’ work in this field since 2015. It is run by GRID-Arendal’s Transboundary Governance and Environmental Crime Programme and funded by Norad.

“It’s getting harder to select only a few grantees from the numerous high-quality applications we are receiving. Our selection committee is here to support with this process, and we are very pleased with the results this year.” said Romain Langeard, manager of the grant programme. “Each year by Christmas we select six grantees. This year, thanks to the additional support from the Waste and Marine Litter Programme at GRID-Arendal, we were able to give one additional grant.”

Environmental crime, including illegal logging and timber trade, illegal fisheries, illegal mining, poaching and illegal trade in wildlife, transportation and dumping of toxic waste, is more than just a direct threat to the environment. It breeds corruption and negatively impacts human security, livelihood, local economies, and prospects for sustainable development. It often goes hand-in-hand with serious crimes such as terrorism, drugs- and weapons smuggling, and human trafficking. It is the fourth largest area of organised crime in the world, with an estimated annual growth rate of 6 per cent, and it’s one of the hardest types of organised crime to tackle. There is a pressing need to focus international attention on these crimes, and that is where investigative journalism can make a difference.

“The impact this programme is creating is opening opportunities for future partnerships, with the hope of increasing the number of investigations we support even more next year,” said Langeard. “While we are looking forward to the implementation of this year’s investigations, we are also thrilled by the upcoming evaluation of impact of the ones carried out in the previous year.”

We are proud to announce the names of the seven grant winners of the GRID-Arendal Investigative Journalism Grants for 2023

Aisha Farrukh
Aisha Farrukh is a Pakistan-based multimedia journalist. With more than five years of professional experience, she is currently working as the Head of the Content Department at The Centrum Media (TCM), Asia's first video-based and Pakistan's first digital news network. Mainly focusing on historical and hard-hitting news stories, she has produced multiple journalistic pieces that created a discourse in Pakistan’s polarized society. She has travelled across the country to give voices to the voiceless, with multiple stories picked up by Pakistan’s national media. In the future, she aims to create an impact in society with her work by telling the stories that can trigger the people sitting in power corridors to take practical actions against malpractices. Aisha is also a two-time winner of the Journalist of the Year award in the category ‘Impact Journalism’.

Alexandre Karghoo
Alexandre has been a business journalist for three years now. Based in Mauritius, he writes for Le journal des Archipels, a business magazine about economy and the environment in the Indian Ocean. The magazine is published across the Indian Ocean and in France. He is also responsible for the Mauritian part of the magazine. Alexandre holds a degree in Politics and International Relations and is a member of the second cohort of the Oxford Climate Journalism Network. He is specialized in Digitalization, Fintech, and Sustainability.

Alícia Fàbregas
Alicia Fàbregas is a freelance writer and multimedia journalist from Barcelona, Spain. She has covered migration, human rights violations, and gender issues in various Latin American countries as well as in Spain, contributing to several media outlets such as The Guardian, VICE, VOGUE US, El País, El Salto, eldiario.es and Pikara Magazine among others.

Dibaba John
Dibaba John is an award-winning environmental journalist with more than 10 years of experience. For 2 consecutive years, he was recognized at a national level for exceptional journalism in the Uganda National Journalism Awards organized by the African Center for Media Excellency. He received grants to investigate biodiversity threats in the past from the Thomson Reuters Foundation, African Institute of Investigative Journalism, Infonile, Earth Journalism Network, and the African Center for Media Excellency. After working as a News Editor with Radio Pacis (www.radiopacis.org), he is now the head for Vision for Inclusion, which uses the power of storytelling to conserve biodiversity. Vision for Inclusion is an umbrella organization of biodiversity journalists in Uganda with a head office in Arua. His work will focus on investigating environment crimes in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo by armed groups.

Doğu Eroğlu
Doğu Eroğlu is an investigative journalist attached to Medyascope in Turkey. With 12 years of experience as a multimedia journalist, Eroğlu has been working on environmental justice and climate change issues for over a decade. Eroğlu also covers conflict and smuggling networks, and published a book called “ISIS Networks: Radicalization, Recruitment and Logistics in Turkey”.

Marcus Pfeil and Michael Anthony (Vertical52)
Vertical52 is a company initiated by Marcus Pfeil and Michael Anthony. Founded in 2022 in Berlin - on the 52nd degree of latitude.
Marcus has specialized in complex storytelling projects since 2012. He and his teams have produced numerous award-winning stories: He tracked e-waste that was smuggled into West Africa and told the story of a missing painting that saved the life of a Jewish family in 1938. He builds his stories with the help of innovative technologies such as GPS transmitters or sensors, with which he made a story about how three dairy cows “talk”. He has been investigating earth from space since 2022.
Michael is a social intrapreneur and entrepreneur who has worked as a journalist in his early career, setting up “journalists.network”, the institute for foreign affairs journalism. Later he drove the sustainability and climate change agendas at Allianz and introduced satellite technology to crop insurance. While living in Mumbai, he set up Earth Analytics India. With Vertical52, Michael wants to visualise environmental data.

Stefano Valentino
Stefano Valentino is an Italian freelance journalist and Investigations Manager at Voxeurop.eu. He is a specialist in EU affairs and globalization, exposing the connections between sustainability, lobbying, and conflicts. He has a track record of international investigative projects funded by grant-making organizations. His work has appeared in leading media outlets in different countries, such as the Guardian, the Christian Science Monitor, EU Observer, il Fatto Quotidiano, El Confidencial, and NRC Handelsblad.

To guarantee the safety of the journalists and not jeopardise their work, we are not able to share details about investigations that will be conducted. The topics that will be covered include illegal fishing activities, illegal logging activities, illegal gold mining practices linked to “green energy” minerals, industrial waste crimes, and endangered species poaching involving armed conflicts.

Valentin Emelin, Head of GRID-Arendal’s Transboundary Government and Environmental Crime Programme, says, “We believe these experienced journalists will produce important stories that have a positive impact on people and the environment. We look forward to sharing their reporting with the world.”

GRID-Arendal is committed to continue and further develop its grant program in support of investigative environmental journalism. The next call for grant applications will be announced on our website in the fall of 2023.
For press inquiries, please contact: press@grida.no

About GRID-Arendal
GRID-Arendal is a non-profit environmental communications centre based in Norway. We transform environmental data into innovative, science-based information products and provide capacity-building services that enable better environmental governance. We aim to inform and activate a global audience and motivate decision-makers to effect positive change. GRID-Arendal collaborates with the United Nations Environment Programme and other partners around the world.

Photo credit: Romain Langeard

Release date: 08 Feb 2023

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