Investigative Environmental Journalism Grants
Increasing awareness of environmental crime issues through financial support to investigative environmental journalists
A hazy allocation, written by Tatenda Prosper Chitagu, looked at how two Chinese mining companies were secretly awarded coal mining concessions in the middle of Zimbabwe's biggest game reserve, the Hwange National Park. In the article, he explains how pressure from conservationists and safari owners, who went to the High Court for an interdict, managed to temporarily stop and investigate the illegal return of one of the mining activities, causing environmental damage, river pollution, and human-wildlife conflicts linked to natural habitat reduction.
The publication of his story re-ignited a national debate about Chinese-funded mining ventures in Zimbabwe, trending on social media and picked for re-publication by other news sites. This prompted the mining venture to be put on hold again for now. A lot of stories concerning mining ventures by the Chinese, especially in the Hwange district, started to be published by other reporters inspired by Tatenda's work.
In October, the story was adjudged the best in the 2021 National Mining and Media Awards, and Tatenda was nominated for Best Reporter in the Coal and Gas Sector. More recently, the story won the Overall Mining and Media Awards Best Reporter award.
About the author
Tatenda Prosper Chitagu is a multi-award winning investigative journalist and fact-checker from Zimbabwe with more than ten years experience. He writes for one of Zimbabwe's independently owned daily papers, The Newsday, as well as its sister weeklies, The Independent and The Standard. Chitagu has been a fellow at the Reuters Institute for the Study (RISJ) of Journalism at the University of Oxford (2017-2018. He is passionate about environmental and human rights issues.
Author: Tatenda Prosper Chitagu
Year of publication: 2021