Environmental Journalism in Asia-Pacific

Also available in Deutsch

In 2009, six major environmental problems were identified as facing Asia-Pacific. They were urban excess, deforestation, overfishing, global warming, air pollution and limited safe water supplies.


Nine of the 15 cities with the highest air pollution in the world are in East Asia. Asia-Pacific’s greenhouse emissions are increasing at a rate twice as fast as the global average. Much of South-East Asia’s original forest cover has been destroyed, at an annual loss rate the size of Switzerland. Asia-Pacific has the highest annual water withdrawal of all the world’s regions. Water shortages are projected for 2025 in India, China, North and South Korea, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines. Bangladesh could lose 17 percent of its land area to rising seas caused by global warming, and Indian crop yields could decline by 30 percent by 2050.

Clearly, with such enormous environmental problems facing the region, the need for widespread, accurate, informed and regular communication on all aspects of the environment is crucial to mitigate these issues as much as possible. Environmental Journalism, however, is a fairly new field. In addition to being competent journalists, environmental reporters must also be researchers, have some scientific and even economic knowledge to be able to accurately conduct their duties. In some states, as we point out, journalists must also be prepared to confront vested interests, who, in some cases, can turn violent.

This publication sets out to achieve a number of objectives of importance to environmental journalism in the Asia-Pacific region. The objectives are:

• To identify the key environmental issues facing the Asia-Pacific region
• To identify and assess journalism organizations, NGOs and others involved in environmental journalism
• To identify relevant environmental institutions, journalism awards, funds and educational programs
• To assess the state of environmental reporting in Asia-Pacific


Singapore, August 3, 2012