False attribution in media on the Yarlung Tsangpo dam projects

Friday, April 19, 2013


When you work with media, there is the risk of being quoted out of context. Sometimes it can be worse: you will be attributed to having said things you have not. Such an incident occurred with me recently.

I was approached by Richard Finney, an editor at the Radio Free Asia, about concerns on the Zangmu dam project on the Yarlung Tsangpo-Brahmaputra river.

I e-mailed back saying:
"Zangmu and other dams they are currently building on the mainstream of the Yarlung Tsangpo-Brahmaputra river are run-off-river projects so it may seem like, as several Indian leaders seem convinced, that these will not impact flow into India. However, the concern is not about one or two dams but [that] a series of dams will be built on the river. No one knows how all of these dams will cumulatively affect the river's environmental flow, especially given the uncertainties of climate change impacts on the glaciers that feed these rivers."

However, Finney's published article, "Concerns Arise Over China's Dam Building Drive in Tibet", published on 17 April 2013, quotes me as having said:
"The Zangmu and other dams planned for the Yarlung Tsangpo will not make use of reservoirs."

As readers can see, I did not say that the planned dams will not use reservoirs. I said that the dams they are currently building are run-off-river projects. There's a big difference between projects currently under construction, which we know from reports that these are run-off-river projects, and other planned projects, the technical details of which are unknown.

I have requested Richard Finney to rectify the false attribution. Let's see what can be done.

******
Richard Finney apologized and made changes to the original news story.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

good that you have made it clear, i too was bit taken back at your certainty that these RoR projects will not be requiring reservoirs, in fact they do.
cheers, TN

Tashi said...

Thanks TN. Good job on the last report!

glacierchange said...

I was examining the retreat of a glacier that drains into the Bode Zangbo and noticed reference to a new hydropower project Bodui on this river. Two questions I have, where along the Bode is this dam? What is the name of the mountains between the Bode Zangbo and Yalong Zangbo
30.3 N and 95.6 E

Shirley said...

Working with media got some perks too; though some of them aren't that good.. or not good at all. :P

Tashi said...

Hello glacierchange: apologies for the late response. Bodui HPP is located at the neck of the Potoe Tsangpo (Bode Zangpo), where the two tributaries meet to become one to then enter the Pharlung-Yiwong Tsangpo. I dont know the local name of the mountains there. ALl the best!