The article that earned Siaway Miapue the award sheds light on the rampant illegal mining activities within the protected Sapo National Park, which is the largest protected area in Liberia
Siaway Miapue, a 24-year-old environmental reporter, beat 23 other contestants to clinch the maiden edition of the USAID and Internews Liberia-sponsored ‘Young Journalist’ award.
The award-winning article focused on the widespread illegal mining activities within the protected Sapo National Park, which is the largest protected area in Liberia.
The report highlighted the detrimental impact of illegal mining and the challenges faced by park rangers in conserving the park’s valuable plant and animal species. As a result of Miapue’s article, the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) collaborated with the area’s traditional leaders to shut down twenty-four illegal mining camps. The park has now been declared a “No-Go Zone” for illegal miners as the FDA increased patrols and protections.
Miapue’s article received grant support from Internews and was implemented by the Center for Media Studies and Peacebuilding (CEMESP). The award ceremony was held under the auspices of the Youth Media Action (YMA), with support from USAID and Internews Liberia.
Miapue began his journalism career while still in high school in Ganta, Nimba County. He initially started as a volunteer at Radio Sletorwah 101.1, a local radio station in the county. After completing high school, he moved to Hott 107.9 FM in Nimba before making the move to Monrovia and enrolling at the University of Liberia to pursue an undergraduate degree. Currently, he is studying Public Health and Environmental Science at the University of Liberia and is one of the few reporters who specialize in pollution and climate change reporting.
In Monrovia, he expanded his reach at Kool 91.9 FM in Paynesville, where he currently works as the News Director.
Miapue says he aspires “to use his platform as a journalist to raise awareness about critical issues in public health and the environment.”
Hiis goal, he added, “is to advocate for positive change and contribute to a more informed and environmentally conscious society.”