PNG-based Australian journalist Ilya Gridneff has won an international award for his reporting on environmental issues, particularly corruption in PNG’s fledgling carbon trading sector.
Mr Gridneff was last Thursday announced as a joint winner of the 2008-09 Asia Pacific award for excellence in environmental journalism, along with Elise Potaka of Asia Calling, Indonesia, by the Asia Pacific Forum of Environmental Journalists (APFEJ) in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Mr Gridneff is the PNG correspondent for news wire service Australian Associated Press (AAP), and his investigative reports on the PNG carbon trading sector have been regularly published in The National.
“Both winners are courageous journalists who have investigated environmental problems, sometimes at considerable personal risk,” Dharman Wickremaratne, APFEJ director, said.
“By honouring these winners, we salute all environmental journalists in Asia and elsewhere who fight silent battles everyday on behalf of the planet,” he said.
Mr Gridneff told The National last Thursday that he was delighted to win the award.
“I am proud my work regarding PNG’s environment and carbon trade issues has been recognised in this award,” he said.
“If my reports have made a difference for PNG, assisted in empowering those without a voice or contributed to stemming climate change issues, then there is truth to the fundamentals of journalism.
“I take this opportunity to encourage other PNG reporters to tackle pressing environmental issues as ultimately, this affects all of us.”
Mr Gridneff is on holidays and is unable to accept the award which is to be presented today at a special ceremony held during the 18th APFEJ World Congress of Environmental Journalists in Colombo.
APFEJ is the world’s oldest and largest organisation of professional environmental journalists, with networking contacts of over 12,000 members in nearly 154 countries around the world.
It has awarded this annual prize since 1990 to recognise the efforts of journalists working on environmental issues, and to encourage quality environmental journalism in the Asia Pacific region.
For the 2008-09 award, APFEJ received 519 nominations from 41 countries.