Fetisov Journalism Awards 2023

Second Prize

Category: Excellence in Environmental Journalism

Choking Kurdistan. How oil and gas burning is suffocating minorities in northern Iraq

Authors: Tom Brown, Christina Last, Kuek Ser Kuang Keng, Alannah Travers, Stella Martany

Tom Brown is a freelance energy reporter with a background in financial journalism, writing for Al Jazeera, The Daily Telegraph and New Lines Magazine. He investigates illegal oil activity in Africa and the Middle East, with investigations funded by the European Journalism Centre, the Environmental Reporting Collective, The Earth Investigations Programme, the Fund for Investigative Journalism and the Arena Climate Network. He studied English Literature with Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, publishing his first novel with Austin Macauley in 2022.

Kuek Ser Kuang Keng is the data editor of Pulitzer Center, a non-profit organisation that supports independent journalism all around the world. He is also the founder of Data-N, a media training and consultancy firm that specialises in data journalism and information research. He has been conducting regular digital journalism workshops since 2018, reaching over 1,000 journalists in Asia. Keng has more than 15 years of experience in digital journalism. He holds a MA in journalism from New York University. He is a Fulbright scholarship recipient, a Google Journalism Fellow and a Tow-Knight Fellow.

Alannah Travers, a British-German journalist, centres her reporting on Iraq's political dynamics, and the human consequences of climate change. In her coverage, she sheds light on the perilous situations faced by over a million internally displaced Iraqis forced to vacate refugee camps. Upon leaving these temporary shelters, the affected individuals frequently discover the absence of homes or employment opportunities. She is the 2023 silver winner of the United Nations Elizabeth Neuffer Memorial Prize.


Stella Martany, a freelance Journalist and Fixer/Field Producer based in Iraq, began her career during the conflict in 2016. She collaborates extensively with foreign journalists and media agencies, helping to bring important stories to light. Stella has worked with both international and local humanitarian NGOs, emphasising her dedication to global issues. Her focus lies in advocating for environmental protection, human rights, highlighting the voices of marginalised communities and indigenous groups, exploring conflicts, and exposing corruption. Stella's commitment to these crucial topics reflects her passion for creating awareness and sparking meaningful change in society.

Christina Last is a Postgraduate Researcher at MIT using AI to understand climatic impacts on our built environment. She has collaborated with a number of city governments and international organisations as a Research Engineer at Carnegie Mellon University and The Alan Turing Institute, (the UK's National Institute for AI), where she built machine learning techniques examining the human impact of the industrial revolution. She has led various international research projects using cutting-edge machine learning to solve humanitarian challenges, most recently as the founder of a UN backed startup predicting air pollution with satellites at every location on the planet.

Choking Kurdistan. 

How oil and gas burning is suffocating minorities in northern Iraq

The Environmental Reporting Collective

May 11th, 2023

The original publication is available via the following link: