Even as a growing number of authoritarian regimes crack down on the political press, business news is thriving. And the coverage is more vigorous than might be expected. Enterprising journalists are exposing mismanagement and unearthing shady business deals—and even at times exposing official corruption—that otherwise might never see the light of day. While other journalists face censorship, jail, or worse, business journalists are eschewing political stories to provide news and statistics on markets, business deals, and international trade.The expansion of economic and business journalism is not a substitute
for truly free and independent media. But it is a sign that—even in the most repressive environments—the demand for trustworthy information is strong and growing.
They wanted to kill him but he survived with six bullets in the body. He was not a case of mistaken identity. They knew who they were aiming at. Hamid Mir is arguably the most prominent TV anchor of Geo TV, the biggest network of Pakistan. He was not a stranger to threats.
Pakistani journalist Umar Cheema has won awards, fellowships, and international acclaim for his investigative reports. But at home he and his colleagues are under sustained attack, and he reports now that surveillance and harassment are increasing. Check out the activity among Cheema’s impressive 123,000 Twitter followers after he announced his election to the GIJN board.
This compelling 15-minute documentary tells the inside story of Yanukovychleaks, the extraordinary team investigation that recovered thousands of documents left behind by Ukraine’s fleeing ex-president. Here’s how a group of young Ukrainian journalists from competing outlets banded together for one the great scoops of the decade. The video, sponsored by GIJN members OCCRP and Scoop, was released at last weekend’s Mezhyhirya Festival, in which more than 300 journalists, data experts, and activists gathered at Yanukovych’s former estate.
It’s been three months since ex-president Viktor Yanukovych fled in the dead of night, after a last, desperate attempt to cover his tracks by destroying documents. It’s not going to be that easy, Mr. President. For the past three years, Ukraine’s “Journalists Day” has been commemorated with an anti-censorship rally in front of his former Mezhyhirya residence. This year, the sprawling compound itself has been hacked. From June 6-8, the Mezhyhirya Festival on investigative journalism, digital activism, and leaks will celebrate a new era of freedom of expression with those who were on site to help usher it in.
Two Danish journalists, Kjeld Hansen and Nils Mulvad, have been found guilty of violating that country’s Data Protection Act for releasing a story on the spread of pig-to-human infection. They have been fined 2.500 Danish kroner (about US$450) each. But the two say they’ve now decided to try to appeal part of the verdict. “We want the court to accept that what we have been publishing on the web since end of October 2010 is in the line with Danish law,” said Mulvad.
Three people have died in Denmark due to infection from drug-resistant “super-bug” bacteria from pigs. None of the deceased themselves had been in contact with the animals. Data on the three deaths emerged in testimony in the City Court of Aarhus, Denmark, on Tuesday, in the trial of Danish journalists Kjeld Hansen and Nils Mulvad. The two journalists are being prosecuted for revealing farms in which the bacteria is spreading. Mulvad is a co-founder of the Global Investigative Journalism Network, and both work for GIJN-member Investigative Reporting Denmark.
On 21 October 2010, journalists Nils Mulvad and Kjeld Hansen published an article on the website Aabenhedstinget.dk, a forum for debate on public law and journalism. They wrote of a silenced case about the difficulties in treating abscesses and ulcers in two children in the city of Løgstør in Jutland. The children were carrying resistant bacteria (MRSA). It became known by a medical professional journal. Mulvad and Hansen used the Løgstør case to show that the government had lost control of MRSA.
Freedom House is out with its annual look at global press freedom, and the news is pretty grim: press freedom has fallen to its lowest level in more than a decade. Behind the decline were major losses in the Middle East, Turkey, Ukraine, and East Africa, as well as “deterioration in the relatively open media environment of the United States.” There were positive developments in other places, notably in sub-Saharan Africa, but the dominant trends were not good: “setbacks in every other region,” according to the report. Only one in seven people now live in a country with a free press. For more on this, see Freedom of the Press 2014.
GIJN is proud to welcome eight new members to the Global Investigative Journalism Network. The group includes respected journalism organizations in Argentina, Korea and South Africa, nonprofits focused on environmental and hate speech issues, and a start-up in France determined to spread investigative reporting across the Francophone world. This brings GIJN’s membership to 98 organizations in 44 countries. Please join us in extending a warm welcome to GIJN’s new members.
More and more, Latin American journalism is thriving in the digital space. Investigative journalism platforms online are joining forces, data journalism bootcamps are taking off and there are new accelerators looking to fund innovative news projects. “In today’s world, journalists spend more time in the virtual world than in the paper stacks,” said Carlos Eduardo Huertas, director of Connectas, a nonprofit which supports transnational journalism.