Monday, April 16, 2012


highlights the growing pressure for greater public awareness and transparency of information as a means of solving environmental problems

When Liu Futang left the confines of the public and China opened its first microblog last April, the forest officer to retire could not have imagined a year later, is celebrated as a shining light for citizen journalism.

But that's what happened Tuesday, when 65, to denounce illegal logging has joined the mainstream media stories about oil spills, pollution, contamination of water and toxic waste that the winner in the Environmental Media Awards in China.

At first glance, it is difficult to imagine anyone less like the typical Chinese blogger Liu. However, the quiet bureaucrat, is primarily an example of the increasing pressure from journalists, bloggers and activists to raise public awareness and transparency of information as a means of solving environmental problems of the country.

Liu angered online last year when developers revealed they had destroyed one of the last forests in the world of trees, coconut water to make room for a port pleasure.

"Degradation is terrible," said Liu. "The local media has not written a single word, but I have published 40 articles that were followed by newspapers and television across the country."

citizen journalist Price is a new category in the awards which are jointly organized by The Guardian, chinadialogue and Sina, the first website in Chinese, with funding from the Guardian Foundation and the ESS, a charity in China.

Now in its third year, the awards highlighted the achievements and ongoing challenges faced by journalists - Chinese. Over the last 12 months have shown significant progress in efforts to improve transparency, but also major obstacles.

international level, the highest success profile was a campaign led by the journalist turned environmental activist My Apple in June to provide more details about pollution and violations of labor standards in its chain supply.

Domestically, the biggest gain is likely to air pollution. Most Chinese cities have been plagued by smog for over a decade, but so far the authorities have provided little information on the pollution that causes haze and threatens the health of millions of people. This changed dramatically after Chinese bloggers and journalists gathered in tweets issued by the central station of the U.S. embassy and other sources, with the environmental authorities in Beijing began to publish more detailed data of pollution earlier this year.

Feng Jie, who became an environmental journalist of the year, wrote a piece of black humor on the efforts of the citizens of Beijing to set up their own monitoring stations . In another report in depth, was revealed as a massive leak of oil in the Bohai Sea was chosen by the public by the State Oceanic Administration and operators of drilling platform, CNOOC and ConocoPhillips. State media journalists were sentenced to remain silent, but the problem arises through the microblogs, and confirmed by the local government and company sources.

These cases illustrate why Feng believes that China has made little progress in the dissemination of information since he began his career six years ago.

"When I started, I was optimistic that things would improve. But now I realize that if you want to tell your readers real information instead of shit, then you need to spend much time to connect with inside information. If you only have to call the press office, you get nothing, "he said.

Press releases and websites

also have to run to get stories before the issue of censorship control locks. The best news story of the year was a report on the risk of cancer that waste represents 5,000 tons of cadmium contaminated water systems near the source of the Pearl River. The article was removed from the Yunnan Information Daily, but its research partner, the Southern Metropolis Daily, was ordered not to publish the news, when he tried to do a day later.

Although many participants cited censorship as the biggest problem faced by Chinese journalists, the diffusion of microblogs has become much more difficult for authorities to control the flow of information, which is now future of these varied and unexpected directions.

"There is greater transparency, but not yet at a fundamental level. This is the biggest challenge in environmental journalism in China," said Jing Gong, which garnered an award for showed how cadmium pollution in soil is contaminated rice reserves. "A lot of information should be made public, but journalists have to work very hard."

if hard work pays off. Media analysts and environmental NGOs said that journalists, bloggers and civil society groups are planning the opening of new information.

"There was an improvement from the bottom up," said Li Yan of Greenpeace. "But there are too many environmental issues that have not gained sufficient attention by the government. "

Liu Ruisheng the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences said that the public demands for transparency increased. "This led the government to open more information. Even if it is under pressure, the government can not do things as he did in the past," he said.

The winners of the press in China environmental

Journalist of the Year:
Feng Jie, Southern Weekend

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