The Singapore Environment Council’s Asian Environmental Journalism Awards (AEJA) aim to recognise and reward excellence in environmental journalism at all levels of society.
From passionate citizen journalists, to outstanding professional journalists, to the environmental attitudes of overall media organisations, the AEJA highlight exceptional journalistic work, and encourage continued high-quality coverage of environmental issues in Asia.
It is beyond a doubt that the media plays a crucial role in advancing the cause of environmental protection. Journalists form an essential bridge between emerging environmental issues and all members of society, whether it is the public, policy makers, or activists.
By bringing environmental stories to the forefront of public perception, journalists play several key roles – through reports on environmentally harmful practices, they serve as the watchdogs of our environment; through features on environmental champions, emerging environmental technologies and business practices, they bring inspiration and fresh ideas on environmental protection to the public. They also enrich public understanding of the environment by presenting complex scientific, technical, ecological and cultural facts about a complex issue in a simple, accessible format.
The Guest of Honor was Minister Masagos Zulklifi, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources.
For the Asian Environmental Journalism Awards, Asia is defined as the following countries which come under the continental bloc:
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
Republic of Korea
United Arab Emirates
Asia is at a complex, yet important point of convergence on some of the most pressing environmental issues of our time.
The continent is home to several emerging economies and countries with high levels of population growth as well.
On the other hand, Asia’s tropical and subtropical climes are abundant with verdant forests, and rich terrestrial and marine biodiversity.
The burgeoning population and economy of the region exert pressure on natural resources and ecosystems in several different ways – Asia’s rivers are amongst the most polluted in the world, deforestation rates in countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia are alarmingly high and the percentage contributions to global greenhouse gas emissions from Asian countries is rising more rapidly than ever.
Conversely, many recent natural disasters that have been linked to climate change and environmental degradation have wreaked havoc in Asia.
Asia is therefore central to global debates on the environment in two key ways – firstly, what happens in Asia affects the world. From natural disasters to unchecked deforestation, from droughts and food crises to decisions taken in international climate negotiations; these events affect the global economy and society.
Secondly, an Asian perspective is crucial to shaping global developments on environmental protection; the Asian voice matters not only because environmental degradation and climate change affect us adversely, but also because it is a valuable contribution to global strategies to mitigate the destruction of our environment.
Emcee Lester Leo was the emcee for the Asian Environmental Journalism Awards (AEJA).