What are the working conditions for investigative journalists one year after Panama Papers?
Ten investigative journalists from around the world write about the prerequisites for engaging in investigative journalism, work methods, challenges and insight hinders they encounter and reprisals they face in this series of articles. This project is funded with the support from the Fritt Ord Foundation(link is external).
Investigative journalists were in Norway in connection with the conference Making Transparency Possible where they participated in an open meeting with debate and workshop on investigative journalism. The meeting was organized in collaboration with SKUP(link is external) and Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Science (HiOA(link is external)). The articles presented in this series tell about the links between access to information as a prerequisite for freedom of expression and reprisals investigative journalists can face when they do their job and make use of their freedom of expression. Financial transparency is necessary for investigative journalists so that they should not risk their lives(link is external) when accessing information or using the information they have been given access to. About 800 journalists have been killed(link is external) only during the last ten years.
Those who follow cash flows and ask questions about transparency or the authorities' management of natural resources are particularly exposed. There is an intensified hunt for natural resources worldwide. It threatens both the world's vulnerable ecosystems and those who asks questions or share their knowledge. Throughout the world, we see an increasing setback against journalists and activists who set the spotlight on transparency or the management of natural resources. Just within 2015 there were 185 activists fighting for environment protection and transparency in oil, gas and mining, including environmental activist Berta Cáceres(link is external) in Honduras, who were killed. This happens not only in countries far away from Norway. Not long ago journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia(link is external) from Malta was killed. She was a journalist who, among other things, did investigations in Malta about links to Panama Papers leak(link is external).
"I followed the illicit wealth from timber corruption and found it all disappeared behind a curtain off-shore"
Off-shore ‘paradise’ islands are back in the news and as far as I am concerned they should stay in the news until these shelters for the super-rich, tax evaders and also mega-criminals are sorted out.
Written by Clare Rewcastle Brown - United Kingdom and Malaysia
Armenia’s Special Investigative Service (SIS) dropped the offshore business case against former Chief Compulsory Enforcement Service Officer Mihran Poghosyan in January this year.
Written by Kristine Agalaryan - Armenia
One politician used his Facebook profile to accuse me, a journalist, of being behind "the attacks" against him, and stated that a criminal lawsuit would follow. A day later he wrote a column welcoming me to the "world of the mortals", and implicit death threat.
Written by Rodrigo Veliz Estrada - Guatemala
I explained how South Africa is very violent... "Yet, the bad guys do not seem to hurt journalists for some reason", I said... How wrong I was.
Written by Craig McKune - South Africa
Ethiopia´s communication affairs office controls which media is entitled to be invited to state organized press events, and which media is not invited.
Written by Tsedale Lemma - Ethiopia
Working on the Panama Papers I have realized, more than ever before, the power of networking and collaboration. The teamwork with international journalists gave me the confidence and empowerment to dare a fearsome figure in the corridor of power.
Written by Emmanuel Mayah - Nigeria
- You have to leave your ego outside the door. We are all working together on this and no matter how big or small your news organisations are, said Marina Walker deputy director of ICIJ on my first meeting about the Panama Papers in Washington in May 2015 with around 20 other journalist. This was eleven months before the Panama Papers stories were published all over the world.
Written by Jóhannes Kr. Kristjánsson - Iceland
Investigative reporting of corruption in Nigeria before Panama Papers appears to have given prominence to public procurement scandals majorly perpetrated by the executive arms of government.
Written by Joshua Olufemi - Nigeria
Yes to Life, No to Free Trade Agreements, was the motto during the citizen’s public referendum called for by social and indigenous organizations in 6 municipalities of the state of Cauca, in southwestern Columbia, on March 6th, 2005.
Written by José Vicente Otero Chate - Colombia
- It was a mild Sunday in early April 2016 that changed my perspective on investigative reporting forever. At exactly 8 pm, the story we’ve been working on in secret for so long, broke: The Panama Papers. The data set which was initially leaked to Süddeutsche Zeitung and then shared with us and other ICIJ members immediately made headlines all around the world.
Written by Jan Lukas Strozyk - Germany