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23.04.2009

Earth Journalism Awards

Internews Announces Earth Journalism Awards on Opening Day of G8 Environment Ministers’ Meeting
(April 22, 2009) The global media assistance organisation Internews today announced the creation of the Earth Journalism Awards for climate change reporting at a round table on communication at the G8 Environment Ministers’ Meeting in Siracusa, Italy. Designed to increase and improve media coverage of climate change around the world, the competition will culminate with a ceremony at the pivotal United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP15) in Copenhagen this December.
“Today on Earth Day we are announcing the Earth Journalism Awards that will support journalism that is more balanced and more environmentally aware,” said H.E. Stefania Prestigiacomo, Italy’s Minister of Environment and President of the G8 Environment Ministers Meeting. “Such journalism can make us all more responsible towards our environment.”
Also featured in remarks by Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland, in her Earth Day speech at the World Bank in Washington, D.C., the Earth Journalism Awards will honor journalists in all media formats and from different global regions who produce the best climate change stories this year. Winners will be selected by expert international juries and invited to attend and cover the Copenhagen Conference, where they will receive their awards in a high profile ceremony on the eve of the political negotiations.
The Earth Journalism Awards’ partners and sponsors to date include the Government of Denmark, which is the COP15 host country, the Ministry of Environment, Land and Sea of Italy, The World Bank, MTV International, the V. Kann Rasmussen Foundation, the Edgerton Family Foundation and Flip Video Spotlight.
“All around the world we are seeing some outstanding stories on climate change, in a multitude of media and linked to a wide range of related issues,” said James Fahn, Global Director of Internews’ Earth Journalism Network (EJN). “The Earth Journalism Awards will finally provide some recognition for this work, along with a higher profile for the journalists who often have to overcome extremely adverse conditions to report them.”
“Global climate change threatens to derail or even roll back hard-won development gains for many countries,” said Katherine Sierra, World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development. "In this critical year, as countries strive to 'Seal the Deal' in Copenhagen, it is essential that climate change communications gets more attention," she said. “In this respect, the Earth Journalism Awards will be a great incentive to media across the world to turn the spotlight on the challenges and opportunities before us.”
The complete list of partners and award categories for the Earth Journalism Awards will be announced on World Environment Day, June 5th, when new partnerships will be unveiled and
an online platform will officially be opened for journalists to submit their applications. Journalists are invited to register online from today in order to receive more information on the Earth Journalism Awards.
“We are excited to see what wonderful creativity the awards will bring from around the world,” explained John Jackson, Director of Social Responsibility for MTV International, which is sponsoring a multimedia youth citizen journalism prize. “We hope that everyone involved in the important work of Copenhagen will get a chance to see what is produced, and that it will help to stir the minds and the hearts of those who have hard but important decisions to make in December.”
A particular goal of the awards is to generate climate change coverage across scores of developing countries where there is a dearth of information and public debate on what is at stake for them in Copenhagen. Internews will be building on the success of The Every Human Has Rights Media Awards held last year. Those awards attracted submissions from more than 100 countries and major participation from developing world journalists. Thirty award winning human rights journalists were brought to Paris to cover the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, at a ceremony featuring former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and Mary Robinson.
The awards were announced at a Siracusa roundtable entitled “Communication and Climate Change - Development Challenges and Opportunities,” organised jointly by the World Bank and the Ministry of Environment, Land and Sea of Italy. Panelists included Dr Max Boykoff, Research Fellow, Environmental Change Institute of Oxford University, Gustavo Faleiros of O Eco news agency in Brazil, Connie Hedegaard, Denmark’s Minister for Climate and Energy and the World Bank’s Kathy Sierra. All spoke about the vital importance of communication in climate change response and the challenges facing developing country journalists in trying to cover climate change in the most affected areas of the world.
Press Contacts:
Europe and International
James Fahn: jfahn@internews.org (+66 81 960-7673)
Mark Harvey: mharvey@internews.fr (+44 7703 18-05-24)
US Annette Makino: aymakino@internews.org (+1 707 826-2030 ext. 123)
Notes for Editors:
Internews is an international media development organization that was established in 1982. Its mission is to empower local media worldwide to provide people with the news and information that they need, the ability to connect, and the means to make their voices heard. Internews activities include training, production, media infrastructure, and media law and policy. Internews has worked in over 70 countries and currently has offices in 35 countries throughout Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and North America. In 2004, Internews developed the Earth Journalism Network (EJN) to empower enable journalists from developing countries cover the environment more effectively. EJN establishes networks of environmental journalists in countries where they don't exist, and builds their capacity where they do, through training workshops, support for production and distribution, and dispersing small grants.

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