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Shortlisted Entries 2019

Category: Excellence in Environmental Journalism

Philip Jacobson, Tom Johnson (United States)

“The secret deal to destroy paradise”

Mongabay.com

November 28, 2018

“The secret deal to destroy paradise” is the third installment of Indonesia for Sale, an in-depth series on the opaque deals underpinning Indonesia’s deforestation and land-rights crisis.
The series is the product of 22 months of investigative reporting across the Southeast Asian country, interviewing fixers, middlemen, lawyers and companies involved in land deals, and those most affected by them.
“The secret deal to destroy paradise” is based on a cross-border collaboration between Tempo, Malaysiakini, Mongabay and The Gecko Project.

Prologue: Johor Baru, 2012

In December 2012, at a press conference on the sidelines of an Islamic business forum in Malaysia, a man named Chairul Anhar made a bold claim. His company, he said, held the rights to 4,000 square kilometers of land for oil palm plantations in Indonesia.

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