2024 Bertha
Challenge Investigative Journalist Fellows

Photo Credit: Greta Rico - Bertha Challenge 2023 Fellow

Photo Credit: Greta Rico - Bertha Challenge 2023 Fellow

Ivan Brehaut Larrea

Location:  Peru
Host Organization: Asociación ProPurús

Ivan Brehaut Larrea is a journalist specializing in indigenous peoples, the Amazon and environmental issues. Ivan has some 30 years of experience in the development of multidisciplinary scientific and social management work. Ivan lives where he works; his journalism is his activism - the two are inextricably linked. His deep and decades-long focus on extractive and road industries, is focussed on the Amazonian indigenous peoples.

Amongst many awards, he was the winner of the Pulitzer Foundation's 2020 Amazon Rainforest Journalism Fellowship and in 2023 the Winner of the CAPIR 2023 Fellowship on environmental crimes in the Amazon.

For his fellowship year, he will tackle the disinformation campaigns orchestrated by powerful oil and logging companies as well as right-wing political groups who specifically discredit indigenous groups with often lethal disinformation campaigns. A seasoned storyteller, he will use multimedia reports and two podcasts.

Patrick Egwu

Location: Nigeria
Host Organization: Ripples Nigeria

Patrick Egwu is a Nigerian independent investigative journalist and media researcher based out of Toronto. For his fellowship year, he will be working and living in Nigeria. He covers human rights, social justice, conflict and development and has reported from Toronto, Chicago, Berlin, Lagos and Johannesburg. Amongst his many accolades as an investigative journalist, Patrick was an Open Society Foundations Fellow at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg during which time he undertook a three month-long undercover investigation into the sale of fake COVID-19 test results in South Africa. He was a finalist for the 2022 Taco Kuiper Award for Investigative Journalism which celebrates outstanding investigative reporting. He was a 2023 recipient of Texas A&M University’s Conflict and Development grants to investigate armed conflict in northwest Nigeria and impacts on marginalized communities.

For his Bertha Challenge project, Patrick will spend the fellowship year investigating climate disinformation and corruption in Nigeria through a 10-part multimedia investigative series connecting the dots between political elites and power and disinformation.

Karin Kőváry Sólymos

Location: The Slovak Republic
Host Organization: Investigative Center of Jan Kuciak

Karin Kőváry Sólymos is a Slovak journalist, working for the Investigative Centre of Ján Kuciak (ICJK). Karin primarily focuses on disinformation, Russian propaganda, information operations, and OSINT investigations. For a series of texts on the Russian propaganda website NewsFront, she and her colleagues won the 2022 Slovak Press Prize for investigative reporting. Before joining ICJK, she worked as an editor and presenter for the Slovak national broadcaster RTVS.

Karin’s Bertha Challenge project will investigate the positive image biofuels have developed in Central Europe. To what extent have corporations and politicians, rather than science and scientifically accepted facts, shape this image? She will also focus on biofuel production‘s wider consequences for agriculture, land use and unpack policy making in the region.

I Gusti Gede Maha Suasana Adi

Location: Indonesia
Host Organization: Green Press Indonesia

Adi’s journalistic career spans more than 25 years in various media outlets in Indonesia. He has served as editor of the weekly magazines Tempo and National Geographic-Indonesia and was awarded dozens of journalistic awards and fellowships. He is co-founder and chairman of the national online media syndicate Green Press Indonesia, as well as co-founder of The Forest Watch Indonesia, a non-governmental organization dedicated to increasing transparency in the forestry sector.

As a Bertha Challenge Fellow, he will focus on
uncovering the modus operandi and influence of energy lobbyists on Indonesia; energy policy and national emission commitments. Through the production of a series of articles, videos, podcasts and discussion during his fellowship, Adi will reveal how the activities of these lobbyists spreading climate disinformation hinder Indonesia’s renewable energy targets and worsen the impacts of climate change. Throughout the fellowship year, he will invite multi-stakeholder collaboration to eliminate climate disinformation and hopes to make a significant contribution to the discourse on accelerating the transition to renewable energy in Indonesia.

Stefano Valentino

Location: Italy
Host Organization: Voxeurop

Stefano Valentino is an Italian freelance journalist and Investigations Manager at Voxeurop.eu. His work specializes in EU affairs and globalization. His mission is exposing the connections between socio-environmental sustainability, corporate lobbying and resources-related conflicts. Often traveling to Brussels, he has extensively investigated the industry influence on EU lawmaking and the harmful impact of EU flawed green policies both in Europe and in developing countries. He took part in two oceanographic expeditions to Antarctica aboard research vessels of the Italian Antarctic Program. 

He has done field reporting from over 30 countries. His work has appeared in leading media outlets in different countries, such as the Guardian, the Christian Science Monitor, EU Observer, La Repubblica, Liberation, Der Spiegel. He is the founder of the Google-funded collaborative journalism platform MobileReporter.

During his Bertha Fellowship he will reveal how big polluters make money from green finance by taking advantage of flawed norms and misleading information to cover up their real contribution to global warming. He will create a handbook with methodological tips and research tools helping reporters to cover this topic.

Liubov Velychko

Location: Ukraine
Host Organization: Mind.ua

Liubov Velychko is an investigative journalist who has contributed to notable Ukrainian media outlets such as Mind.ua, LIGA.net, Slovo i dilo. She mentors regional journalists and conducts training sessions on undercover work, OSINT, and storytelling. As a member of OCCRP and N-ost, Liubov conducted cross-border investigations on money laundering, high-ranking corruption, and environmental issues. Since the start of the Russian-Ukrainian war, Liubov has focused on Russian assets, influence agents, and political lobbying.

Her Bertha Challenge project will address the question: How do the world’s largest industrial groups in the oil, gas, and coal sectors use disinformation campaigns to hinder countries from fulfilling their international obligations regarding global warming for their own benefit?

At the center of attention will be 6 investigations focusing on the 10 largest industrial groups involved in coal, oil, and gas extraction, including Saudi Arabian Oil Company, Chevron Corporation, Gazprom, Coal India Limited etc.

Her focus and analysis of disinformation spread will be conducted in countries that are among the largest greenhouse gas emitters, including the USA, India, Russia, Australia, and Ukraine. These countries are signatories of the Paris Agreement, adopted within the framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 2015.