Fueling the Tiger Cubs: How Southeast Asia’s Media Is Covering Coal’s Last Frontier: Report

A transition to clean energy in fast-developing Southeast Asia is essential to slowing climate change. Yet prior to our research, little is known about the media narratives shaping national debates on energy in each country. That is why in 2020, Climate Tracker and the Stanley Center for Peace and Security partnered to conduct research on how the leading news outlets reported on coal and renewable energy in VietnamMalaysiaThailandIndonesia, and the Philippines (the five Tiger Cub Economies in Southeast Asia).

After 3 months of research which involved 10 young journalists analyzing 2700+ articles, we finally co-launched the publication of our Regional Report on Coal and Energy Coverage in Southeast Asia in a webinar on November 30. We were joined in the launch by our 10 research fellows as well as four amazing guest panelists, who all brought their own perspective on our research findings as well as action points for the future:


Quotes from panel discussion

We spent two decades explaining that renewables is not a massive waste of money. If you already have a peg in these [Southeast Asian] countries that renewables is not a bad investment, that’s a surprise to me and a obviously a positive one.

Sven Egenter, Clean Energy Wire

“We’re seeing more and more journalists wanting to strengthen their reporting on energy, climate change and other environmental topics by using innovative reporting tools such as mobile phones, drones, mapping, infographics, and simulations. There must be continuous training opportunities for journalists in order for them to progress in their reporting.”

– Imelda Abaño, Earth Journalism Network

“I’ve noticed a number of journalists who are dedicated to climate and energy issues and I really appreciate seeing these individuals build their own personal platforms outside of their paid work and create careers outside of the traditional media landscape to reach more audience and push the coverage further ,”

– Tammy Mayer, REN21

The media structure revolves around very old structure beats. We need to change the way editors look at these topics in order to facilitate an environment that enables interested reporters to do the proper reporting.

Kitty Bu, formerly of European Climate Foundation
Our panel discussion with Kitty Bu, Imelda Abano, Tammy Mayer and Sven Egenter on research findings.


Curious about our regional report? Excited to contribute towards building action points for better energy reporting in the region? Read our report below, check out our national reports, and let us know your thoughts on next steps for the region HERE. Whether you’re a journalist, NGO representative, media researcher or just simply interested in this topic, we would love to hear from you!