Thirty-five journalists representing seven countries in the southeast Asia region gathered in Manila this week to form a new network of anti-corruption journalists that is dedicated to investigating and exposing corruption issues.

The Journalists Against Corruption (JAC) network was launched on Wednesday, March 20, at The Bayleaf Intramuros. It aims to become a platform for national and regional collaborative investigations and training opportunities.

The journalists represented media organizations such as Tempo and Project Multatuli in Indonesia; The Nation and Green News in Thailand; Sinar Project in Malaysia; Camboja News in Cambodia; the National Radio and TV of Timor Leste; and Rappler, GMA News, and ABS-CBN in the Philippines. 

“JAC is a network that unites media practitioners dedicated to investigating and exposing corruption issues. It is a platform for national and regional collaborative investigations and training opportunities,” said Carmela Fonbuena, executive director of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism.

 

 

PCIJ spearheaded the formation of the network in partnership with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), with support from the Government of Sweden and the US International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL).

UNODC is the guardian of the UN Convention against Corruption or UNCAC, is the only legally binding universal anti-corruption instrument.

Mr. Daniele Marchesi, head of the UNODC Office in the Philippines, in a welcome address he gave during the launch, said “the creation of the JAC networks marks a significant step forward in our shared mission.”

“Journalism plays a pivotal role in this fight (against corruption). Investigative journalists shine a light on hidden corruption, holding those in power accountable and bringing injustices to the forefront of the public discourse,” Marchesi said in a welcome address he gave during the launch.

“In regions like Southeast Asia, where the challenges of corruption are profound, your stories can inspire change, influence policies, and inspire collective action against corruption,” Marchesi said.

Beyond the pilot period, JAC was designed to be a self-sustaining network. Erica Villborg of the Embassy of Sweden in Bangkok said it’s important that the network receives the support to implement the activities it planned.

“We can see the important role that free and independent media plays in the fight against corruption… Sweden will continue to be a clear voice in supporting an independent and free media and the fight against corruption,” said Villborg.

 

 


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