Joel Simon on environmental journalism

Environmental reporting around the world is under siege. Newsrooms in the United States are slashing budgets for the beat, and repressive countries are taking action to stifle reporting. Journalists are facing threats to their work–and sometimes, their lives. In the current issue of World Policy Journal, CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon calls on environmental and press freedom groups to work together to support journalists.

“In the United States and Europe, environmental reporting is not an especially dangerous beat. But that’s not true in much of the rest of the world, where environmental reporters have faced harassments, lawsuits, violent attacks, and the occasional murder,” writes Simon in his article, “Unnatural Disaster: The Crisis of Environmental Journalism.”

Simon cites the case of Russian journalist Mikhail Beketov, who was savagely beaten last November. 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.

“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,” writes Simon.

The full article is available on the World Policy Journal‘s Web site.