Mongabay writer wins award for outstanding environmental reporting

Frequent Monbabay-India contributing writer Sibi Arasu has won the 2018 Prem Bhatia Memorial Award for Outstanding Environmental Reporting, the most prestigious award in India for environmental journalism.

The prize jury praised his “sensitive, in-depth content” and “superb photographs …whether documenting urban chaos, battles with sand or water mafia or the protected- animal-species-versus-human-lives-conflict deep in the wilds.” He has been reporting exclusively on the environment, people’s rights and development, and climate-change-related issues for the last five years, before which he worked at national news organizations in Delhi, like The Hindu and The Times of India.

His reporting for Mongabay-India, including this recent feature from the port city of Thoothukudi in Tamil Nadu, also caught the jury’s eye. Residents there agitated against the expansion of a polluting copper smelting plant, and police killed 13 in the unrest.

“Winning the Prem Bhatia Award is incredible recognition for the fine reporting Sibi Arasu is doing on environmental issues in India,” said Mongabay founder and CEO Rhett Butler. “It’s a great honor to have Sibi as part of the Mongabay-India freelance reporting team.”

Prem Bhatia was an important Indian journalist in the 1950s and 60s. The award is given by a trust formed to celebrate his life and writings, and was presented at the 23rd Prem Bhatia Memorial Lecture at the India International Centre, New Delhi on Saturday, August 11, 2018.

Mongabay-India aims to bring high quality, original reports from nature’s frontlines all around India, and launched in January of this year. It is the fourth international bureau of Mongabay and joins its teams located in the United States, Latin America, and Indonesia, which publish original daily reports in English, Spanish, and Bahasa respectively.

Banner image: A photo of Ranjith Kumar who was killed in the police shooting in Thoothukudi on May 22, image by Sibi Arasu. Read the feature here.

Author: Erik Hoffner

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