This is a repost from the website of the Global Investigative Journalism Network. GIJN and the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism are organisers of Uncovering Asia: The First Asian Investigative Journalism Conference that starts tomorrow, November 23, 2014, in Manila, Philippines.

Here are interviews with leading investigative journalists, free expression advocates, and one Nobel laureate — from 20 countries in all — talking about the importance of investigative journalism. Many of these people work on the front lines of battles against corruption and for public accountability, in places like Mexico, Myanmar, Pakistan, South Africa, Turkey, and Ukraine.

They offer compelling testimony for the critical role that investigative journalism plays in helping ensure just, open and free societies. Most of these interviews were recorded in October 2014, at the 8th Global Investigative Journalism Conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Joseph E. Stiglitz, Nobel laureate in economics, speaks about why the accountability function of investigative journalism is essential and explains why it needs private support.

Sheila Coronel, academic affairs dean at the Columbia School of Journalism and Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism co-founder, talks about the importance of a watchdog press.

Giannina Segnini, investigative reporter from Costa Rica, describes how her team investigations put two former president under the magnifying glass and why democracy should not be taken for granted.

To know more from the experts, please click here.

By: DAVID E. KAPLAN, Global Investigative Journalism Network*

FIRST, the big news: In just over two weeks we’ll convene Uncovering Asia, the region’s first investigative journalism conference. Excitement is building, and we’ve got an extraordinary array of the best journalists from Japan to Pakistan coming our way – heading to Manila for a World’s Fair of muckraking from Nov. 22-24.

GIJN has teamed up with two great partners to help give Asian investigative journalism a boost: the Asian Media Programme of Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, the German foundation; and the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism. We’ll have journalists from 25 countries talking about setting up networks, collaborating on stories, and sharing tips and data.

Why Asia? Why Now?

So why are we heading to Asia? That’s easy. It’s where most of humanity lives, and the demand for quality investigative reporting is enormous. More than 4.3 billion people call Asia home – that’s 60% of the global population. It has the world’s second and third largest economies, and its share of global GDP is expected to double. But the region is also among the weakest links in an emerging global community of investigative journalists.

Asia is home to 4.3 billion people, 60% of humanity.

GIJN is a network of networks. We have more than 100 member organizations from nearly 50 countries, and many of them have their own memberships across nations and regions. Over the past 20 years these groups – which today form the backbone of global investigative journalism – have spread to every continent. In North America we have Investigative Reporters and Editors, the Investigative News Network, and dozens of other nonprofits. In Europe we have Journalismfund.eu, the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, Scoop, and also many more independent groups. In Africa there’s the Forum for African Investigative Reporters and, more recently, the African Network of Centers for Investigative Reporting. In the Middle East and North Africa there’s Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism. In Latin America we have the annual COLPIN conferences, growing networks like Connectas, and strong national associations like Brazil’s Abraji.

And in Asia? Not so much. No investigative networks. No annual conferences. No fund for investigative journalism. Of GIJN’s 107 members, only 5 are in Asia. All that needs to change.

Well, here’s the good news – it is in fact changing, and quickly. Our colleagues around the region tell us that Uncovering Asia is the right event at the right time. Fueled by the same forces that have made investigative reporting a force to be reckoned with elsewhere – globalization, computing power, mobile phones, and determined journalists — there are signs from Seoul to Islamabad that a new era of muckraking is at hand.

Sure, we’ve got huge challenges. Criminal libel laws are still on the books in many countries. China and Vietnam are among the world’s leading jailers of journalists. Traditional media are driven toward poorly reported scandals and sensation, not careful watchdog reporting. Journalists lack training and resources for in-depth reporting. Owners are too often in cahoots with the very people the media should be investigating. And it’s bloody dangerous out there. Too many of our colleagues from the Philippines to Pakistan have lost their lives simply for reporting the truth.

But history is on our side. A global marketplace means countries need to open up in order to compete. Smart leaders know that if they really want to fight corruption and promote public accountability, they need an investigative news media. Meanwhile, the Internet is bringing tools and techniques to our colleagues everywhere, and connecting journalists in unprecedented ways. Secrets are much harder to keep, while public records are more accessible than ever.

Asian investigative journalism nonprofits: A growth industry?

Major media plays a critical role in spreading investigative journalism around the world. But it is the nonprofits that have served as training centers, incubators, and models of excellence in the rapid growth of muckraking. And for years there was only one IJ nonprofit in Asia – the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, founded in 1989.

This is another reason we are heading to Manila – to mark and celebrate PCIJ’s 25 extraordinary years. In that quarter century, the Philippine Center has published more than 1,000 investigative reports, produced scores of documentaries, and launched some two dozen books. Its staff have run more than 120 seminars for journalists across Asia, and won 150 awards for their dogged work. PCIJ’s investigation in 2000 of then-President Joseph Estrada, which led to his impeachment, is taught in journalism schools as a case study in modern muckraking. Equally impressive, the PCIJ staff showed that an independent nonprofit could not only survive but thrive in a developing country, and its work over the years has served as a model for scores of nonprofit journalism centers around the world. That is worth heralding.

PCIJ helped inspire the Nepal Centre for Investigative Journalism, launched in 1996, which has been rejuvenated and is back doing first-rate work. And now look what has followed:

A Promising Start

These nonprofits and networks are, of course, in addition to the extraordinary work being done by mainstream media, both local and international. To name but a few: the New York Times work on the corrupt wealth of China’s leadership; Reuters’ projects on mistreatment of Myanmar’s Rohingya minority, and its Connected China data project; the Japanese media’s digging into the Fukushima nuclear disaster; the gutsy reporting by Chinese journalists from Caixin, Southern Weekend, and CCTV, among others; and a growing force of world-class reporters across South Asia, who refuse to accept government press releases and corporate payoffs as real journalism. And don’t forget the Philippine Daily Inquirer‘s exposés of pork barrel politics, determined digging by Indonesia’s Tempo magazine and Taiwan’s CommonWealth, and watchdog reporting by Malaysia’s Malaysiakini and Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post – these are but a few of the noteworthy efforts in recent years.

Journalism professors are playing a critical role, as well, training a new generation of journalists in how to dig, analyze data, and find documents. We’ve had tremendous response from top “J schools” in the region to Uncovering Asia. Among the schools which will be represented at the conference: the Ateneo de Manila University’s Asian Center for Journalism (Philippines), Asian College of Journalism (India), Chung-Ang University’s School of Journalism & Mass Communication (Korea), Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism (U.S.), Hong Kong University’s Journalism and Media Studies Centre (Hong Kong), and Waseda University’s Journalism School (Japan).

So, come join us in Manila if you can, and hear first-hand the reporters involved in charting the future of in-depth journalism. We’ll have more than 30 sessions ranging from tracking assets and dirty money to the latest data tools and how to set up your own investigative team. If you can’t join us, you can follow it all on Twitter at #IJAsia14. And don’t’ worry if you miss much. This isn’t the end of something big – it’s the beginning.

*Story originally titled “Why Asia? Why now?”

A GATHERING of hundreds of journalists and press freedom advocates from around the world, and the lighting of a million candles to rekindle dimming hopes and to light the way for justice will mark the commemoration of the Ampatuan Massacre on November 23.

This year marks half a decade after the carnage in the southern Philippine province of Maguindanao where 58 people were killed – 32 of them reporters and media workers – making it the single deadliest attack on journalists all over the globe. The killings were allegedly ordered by members of a warlord clan who were allies of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

For the first time, hundreds of journalists will gather in a single place in the Philippines as two big events – Uncovering Asia: The First Asian Investigative Journalism Conference, and Journalism Asia – dovetail with the commemoration in the capital of Manila.

Uncovering Asia, organized by the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) and the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ), will gather more than 200 investigative journalists from at least 25 countries in Asia and other regions. Journalism Asia, on the other hand, is organized by the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) and the Southeast Asia Press Alliance (SEAPA).

The “Million Candles Campaign,” led by CMFR in the Philippines, and the International Freedom Exchange (IFEX), will also be held on the International Day to End Impunity. IFEX declared the international campaign in 2011 to coincide with the commemoration of the Ampatuan Massacre.

Delegates to Uncovering Asia and Journalism Asia are expected to join Filipino journalists in lighting candles at the EDSA Shrine at 6 p.m.

You can take part in this activity by lighting a candle wherever you are on November 23, 2014 at 6 p.m.

FROM THE ranges of the Himalayas, to the steppes of Thimphu, the rolling hills of Kerala, to the concrete streets of Manila, journalists from at least 25 countries across Asia and other parts of the world will gather two days from now to share with each other tools, tips, and techniques on how to become better storytellers.

Uncovering Asia: The First Asian Investigative Journalism Conference will start on November 22 and is expected to gather some of the best mentors and practitioners in investigative journalism.

Why Asia? Why Now?

So why are we heading to Asia? That’s easy. It’s where most of humanity lives, and the demand for quality investigative reporting is enormous. More than 4.3 billion people call Asia home – that’s 60% of the global population. It has the world’s second and third largest economies, and its share of global GDP is expected to double. But the region is also among the weakest links in an emerging global community of investigative journalists.

Read more about Uncovering Asia on the Global Investigative Journalism Network website.

Nearly 70 speakers from 25 countries are heading to Manila this week to speak on panels and conduct workshops. So who’s coming to Asia’s first investigative journalism conference?

You’ll find top investigative reporters, data journalists, security and legal experts, editors and publishers, educators and more. We’ll have journalists from the BBC, Thomson Reuters, Asahi Shimbun, Newstapa,Caixin, Inter-Press Service,Malaysiakini, Bangkok Post, Philippine Daily Inquirer, NHK, Irrawaddy, Thai Rath, South China Morning Post, Tempo,CommonWealth, ABS-CBN, GMA Network, and Seoul Broadcasting, to name a few.

Click on the photo for more details on the Uncovering Asia website.

IJAsia-collage

FIFTY-EIGHT dead, five years, zero justice.

This, in a nutshell, is the Ampatuan Massacre case as journalists and press freedom advocates prepare to mark the fifth anniversary of the deadliest single attack on reporters and media workers across the globe.

Half a decade after 58 people were slain – 32 of them journalists and media workers – the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) launched on Monday the activities to commemorate the massacre.

"Five years of loss and of a search for justice that remains elusive,

“Five years of loss and of a search for justice that remains elusive as if it, too, was buried but was not exhumed in the pit in which madmen believed they could bury all evidence of their orgy of blood,” says Rowena Paraan of NUJP | Photo by Cong. B. Corrales

“Six days from today, the families, friends, and colleagues of the 58 mercilessly slaughtered on a hilltop in Sitio Masalay, Barangay Salman, Ampatuan, Maguindanao will mark five years of loss and of a search for justice that remains elusive as if it, too, was buried but was not exhumed in the pit in which madmen believed they could bury all evidence of their orgy of blood,” said NUJP national chair Rowena Paraan.

Paraan lamented that the stream of issues competing for the public’s attention — from ebola to the alleged hacienda of the vice president — has contributed to the diminished public interest in the case and have disheartened families of the victims.

“The purpose of this continuing campaign is to remind the people of the massacre and that five years have passed but justice remains elusive,” Paraan said.

INFOGRAPHIC by Cong. B. Corrales

INFOGRAPHIC by Cong. B. Corrales

Of the 197 persons accused of multiple murder before Branch 221 of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Paraan said 28 bear the Ampatuan surname, including clan patriarch Andal Ampatuan Sr., former ARMM Governor Zaldy Ampatuan and former Datu Unsay town mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr.

As of Monday, only 111 suspects had been arrested and arraigned and 89 of the accused still remain at large.

Paraan said that the Ampatuan massacre trial, which started in January 2010, has been characterized by word wars between prosecutors, delaying tactics by defense lawyers, bribery accusations, and an abject lack of update reports for the families of victims.

“The prosecution presented a total of 152 witnesses. Since the trial started, at least three possible witnesses have been killed,” added Paraan.

Meanwhile, at least 33 more journalists had been killed after the massacre, Paraan said, adding that this only reflects government’s unfulfilled and broken promises of justice, of respect for basic rights and freedoms, and of good governance.

The activities lined-up for the commemoration this year include an International Solidarity Mission with delegates representing the International Federation of Journalists-Asia Pacific Office, National Union of Journalists-Malaysia, Southeast Asia Journalists Union, Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance-Australia, and the Southeast Asian Press Alliance.

REPORTERS and media workers watch the public service announcement of NUJP during its public launch last November 17, 2014 in Quezon City, Philippines to mark the fifth year of the Ampatuan Massacre | Photo by Cong B. Corrales

REPORTERS and media workers watch the public service announcement of NUJP during its public launch last November 17, 2014 in Quezon City, Philippines to mark the fifth year of the Ampatuan Massacre | Photo by Cong B. Corrales

The schedule of activities follows:

November 19: Arrival in Manila of foreign delegates for the International Solidarity Mission

November 20: Arrival in General Santos City of the International Solidarity Mission

November 21: Massacre site visit by 8 a.m. and meeting with Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu at 3 p.m.

November 22: Arrival in Manila, meeting with Justice Sec. Leila De Lima at 2 p.m.

November 23: Press Conference at 9 a.m. and unveiling of installation art at Bantayog ng mga Bayani and lighting of candles at EDSA Shrine by 5 pm.

November 24: Meeting with Task Force Usig head, Colonel Henry Libay at Camp Crame at 10 a.m.

The NUJP also launched a public service announcement produced by the Philippine Integrated Advertisement Agency (PIAA), with editorial supervision of the NUJP.

“Six days from today, we will look back and see how five years of corruption and apathy have conspired to thwart not only justice for the Ampatuan 58 but allowed the impunity with which journalists, activists, lawyers, environmentalists, farmers, indigenous people, religious and other whose only crime is to exercise their right to free expression continue to be murdered,” the NUJP statement reads. – Cong B. Corrales

November 14, 2014 · Posted in: General

Investigative impact: Case studies

This article was originally published on the Global Investigative Journalism Network website.

EXAMPLES of how investigative journalism impacts public policy and accountability are not hard to find.

Graphics by GIJN

Graphics by GIJN

Everyday, from small-town papers to big city media, watchdog reporters are asking tough questions about where the money goes and how power is exercised in our societies.

Graphics by GIJN

Graphics by GIJN

To illustrate the critical role that investigative journalism plays, GIJN gathered examples of high-impact reports from ten countries. All but one — Watergate — have been published since 2000.

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Graphics by GIJN

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