It’s great when the Foundation’s two program areas, the environment and human rights, intersect, and we always look for opportunities to link our two program areas in meaningful and productive ways. A great example of how that can play out is demonstrated in an article published by the World Policy Journal, written by Joel Simon, the Executive Director for Committee to Protect Journalists. In the article, Simon calls on environmental and press freedom groups to work together to support journalists.
It’s clear that environmental reporting around the world is under siege, from newsrooms that have slashed budgets for environmental beat reporting, to journalists that are threatened when reporting on environmental issues. Simon cites various cases, such as the case of Russian journalist Mikhail Beketov, who was savagely beaten last November. As editor and publisher of Khimkinskaya Pravda (Khimki Truth), Beketov had been reporting on a local environmental group campaigning to stop a planned highway that would have cut through the Khimki Forest, destroying one of the last areas of pine and oak near Moscow.
Simon is pretty clear when it comes to what he sees as one of the major problems facing environmental news reporting. He writes, "Press freedom groups and environmental groups both speak out about such abuses, but they don't work together to ensure that there is systematic documentation of violations and a strategy to confront the worst abusers." That kind of collaboration is imperative if we want to solve these kinds of issues.
Simon's article will bring a wider audience to the discussion surrounding environmental reporting and environmental justice. It's a start to combining to of our passions, human rights and the environment.