Gevangen in Panama

Van de 2Doc.nl website:

In november 2016 werd de Nederlandse journalist Okke Ornstein in Panama gearresteerd en in een gevangenis opgesloten vanwege zijn kritische artikelen over fraude en corruptie in dat land.

Ornstein werkte sinds 2000 in Panama, waar hij radioreportages maakte en een weblog schreef over o.a. zakenlieden die investeringen met grote winstkansen aanboden, maar hun klanten van hun inleg beroofden. Enkele van die zakenlieden sleepten Ornstein voor het gerecht wegens ‘smaad’ en ‘belediging’ en Ornstein werd, zonder dat hij de kans kreeg zich te verdedigen, tot 38 maanden cel veroordeeld.

Zijn collega en goed vriend Gilles Frenken reisde naar Panama, zocht Ornstein op in de gevangenis, en volgde de acties achter de schermen om Ornstein weer op vrije voeten te krijgen.

 

Barro Blanco documentary nominated for Prix Europa

The radio documentary about the Barro Blanco hydroelectric dam in Panama that I produced for NTR radio in Holland has been nominated for the Prix Europa, at the European broadcast festival that will be held in Berlin in October.

In the piece I investigated, together with colleague Gilles Frenken, the greenwashing of this environmentally and socially disastrous project in which Dutch semi-government bank FMO is heavily invested. We discovered that local indigenous people had never been consulted and face forced displacement, there are serious environmental consequences left out of a doctored impact study and the Dutch bankers didn’t seem to fully understand what they were investing in.

The documentary led to questions in the Dutch parliament soon after it was aired.

“Barro Blanco” has been nominated in the category, “Best European Radio Investigation of the Year 2013”.

Haven’t heard it yet? You can listen to the documentary here.

Barro Blanco

Tabasara river

A Dutch semi-government institution, the Dutch Development Bank FMO, invests in a hydroelectric dam in Panama, called Barro Blanco. Green energy, and Holland can offset some CO2 emissions. Everybody happy, then?

Well, not quite. The dam is being built just outside the indigenous reservation of the Ngobe people, and part of their land, with several villages, will be flooded. Protests have already caused several deaths and many wounded. Environmentalists claim that the energy isn’t green at all.

Together with colleague Gilles Frenken, I set off to investigate. We found angry indigenous people, an energy corporation that constantly lies, and a Dutch bank that insists on looking the other way when human rights are violated.

Listen to the radio documentary on the HollandDoc website, here.

The documentary led to questions in parliament in the Netherlands as well.