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ARENDAL, Norway, 1 Feb 2022 - GRID-Arendal is proud to announce the winners of its latest round of investigative environmental journalism grants for 2022. Six journalists will each be awarded 20,000 Norwegian kroner (approximately €2,000) to support their investigations into issues related to environmental crime and the subsequent publication of their findings. GRID-Arendal’s investigative environmental journalism grant programme has been supporting critical reporting since 2015.

“We are fortunate to receive more and more extremely relevant applications every year, and are impressed with the commitment each applicant puts into their application,” said Romain Langeard, manager of the grant programme. “This time we have increased the number of grants to six, but it is still a challenge to select the best. We were looking for highly innovative approaches on well-known topics or new cross-thematic stories that we believe have value to policy makers and the public. Given the impact this programme is creating, we hope to be able to increase even more the number of supported investigations, if other donors join us in future.”

Environmental crime's impacts can be seen on a much broader spectrum than direct threats to ecosystems and animals. It often impacts livelihood security, local economies, and prospects for sustainable development. 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 this is where investigative journalism can make a difference.

We are proud to announce the names of the six grant winners of the GRID-Arendal Investigative Journalism Grants 2022

Daniel Wizenberg is an experienced journalist who has written two books: “Los que Esperan”, following the route of migrants and refugees around the world, and “Corea: Dos Caras Extremas” about his trip to North Korea. He is one of the founders of Revista Late, where he reports on international news and human rights issues. He has collaborated with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) and Survival International. He is an International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) Professional Fellow.

Joni Aswira Putra is a CNN Indonesia Assignment Editor who is experienced in in-depth coverage investigations. They have eleven years of experience as a journalist for printed media, online media and television (video journalist). Joni is certified as a Main Level journalist by the Indonesian Press Council. Topics of coverage are transparency issues, law, human rights, economy, and environment.

Julián Reingold is a journalist with a Sociologist (UBA) and Master in Environment and Sustainable Development (UCL) background. He has been working as a journalist for four years on issues of energy transition, deforestation, wildfires and climate justice movements in Argentina and the Global South. He has been a fellow of Climate Tracker and One Earth, and collaborates in media outlets such as Le Monde Diplomatique, El País, VICE, and Revista Anfibia.

Menna Abdel Razek is an independent Egyptian investigative journalist, specializing in data-driven investigations. She has worked for several Egyptian websites and newspapers in the investigation departments. She works as a freelance reporter for Akhbar Al-Aan channel, based in Dubai. She also received the Excellence Award at the Egyptian Journalists Syndicate. She got a diploma in data journalism after six months with the co-operation of ICFJ and ARIJ organisations. Menna is now interested in stories based on open sources, especially those related to environmental crimes, climate change, and stories with economic angles that affect nations.

Rubatheesan Sandran is an investigative journalist attached to the Sunday Times, Sri Lanka. Over the years, his reportage focused on humanitarian issues in post-war Sri Lanka, Indo- Lanka fishing disputes, agriculture and the environment. He was shortlisted twice for the 'Young Journalist' award (2018 & 2019) conducted by Thomson Foundation (UK).

Shabina Faraz is an awarded professional environmental journalist with more than 20 years of work experience as a columnist, features, articles, and travelogue writer. She has been contributing to various environmental topics in mainstream national and international media houses. Currently working for BBC Urdu, The Thirdpole and daily Dawn, she is the author of 2 books on environmental education and nature conservation and has been an editor to pioneering monthly magazine Jareeda published by IUCN Pakistan. Additionally, Shabina is working as a trainer for young journalists and students.

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, industrial waste pollution and endangered species poaching.

Valentin Emelin, leader of GRID-Arendal’s 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 continuing and further developing 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 2022.


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: Fisherboat passes mangrove forest at Ko Lanta, Thailand. Peter Prokosch/GRID-Arendal.

Release date: 01 Feb 2022

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