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10 years of Mongabay-Indonesia

Ten years ago this month, we established Mongabay-Indonesia with a goal of increasing transparency and accountability in Indonesia’s forest sector. Mongabay-Indonesia would go on to lay the groundwork for Mongabay’s global expansion. 

The path to launching an Indonesian-language environmental news service was a serendipitous one. But I believed that Indonesia was an under-served market when it came to environmental coverage and that there was a real opportunity for Indonesian-led journalism to have a real world impact. 

To turn the idea into a reality, I formed a non-profit and started knocking on doors to raise money. Eventually I found a funder that recognized the value of building a team of Indonesian journalists to cover environmental issues.

With a grant secured, I shared job descriptions and within weeks hired a small team from an incredible pool of talent in the country. In May 2012, formally launched and quickly became the most popular Indonesian-language environmental news service. Mongabay-Indonesia’s influence grew rapidly, counting high-level officials – even presidents – among its readers.

With its innovative ideas and pioneering work, Mongabay-Indonesia also became a model for Mongabay as a whole, including the regional bureaus that followed its establishment. For example, the network of journalists Mongabay-Indonesia built across the archipelago to provide insight on local and regional issues served as a blueprint for Mongabay’s global contributor network, which now exceeds 800 reporters in over 80 countries. Mongabay-Indonesia also led the way in developing our social media strategy in the early 2010s. 

More importantly, Mongabay-Indonesia has had real impacts on the ground, exposing corruption and abusive practices, documenting successful conservation initiatives, and raising awareness on a massive scale. In sheer numbers, Mongabay-Indonesia has had more than 150 million pageviews and 60 million users since its inception. The team has produced more than 16,000 articles, amounting to nearly 18 million words.

Ridzki Sigit, the head of Mongabay-Indonesia since its birth, credits the hard work of the team for the initiative’s success.

“I am surrounded by people who have the vision and passion to make Mongabay-Indonesia a trusted and valuable source of information on environmental issues. And to continue improving the platform.”

Ridzki says Mongabay-Indonesia’s greatest legacy has been its impact in local communities.

“What impressed us the most, was that when we wrote stories, it had an impact on the local community,” he said. “From this we realized that our existence was significant.”

So with that, I would like to recognize the ingenuity, devotion, and tenacity of the whole Mongabay-Indonesia team and everyone who has contributed to the platform over the past 10 years. You have made a difference. Thank you!

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By Rhett Ayers Butler

Rhett Ayers Butler is the Founder and CEO of Mongabay, a non-profit conservation and environmental science news platform. He started Mongabay in 1999 with the mission of raising interest in and appreciation of wild lands and wildlife.