6.7 Investigative journalism, access to public information and media corporate governance sr

Martha Ruiz, Dario Soto-Abril, Victor Alistar, Pantelis Kapsis, Pilar Arcidiacono, 13th IACC, Workshop report, Governance, Civil Society

 


WORKSHOP REPORT FORM

 

Number and title of workshop:

6.7 Investigative journalism, access to public information and media corporate governance: is there anything new?

Date and timeof workshop

2nd November, 11-13h.

Moderator

Natalia Torres, Technical assistant at the Under Secretary of Institutional Reform and Strengthening of Democracy, Chief of Cabinet of Ministries

Rapporteur

Pilar Arcidiacono, Centre of Legal and Social Studies

Panellists

Dario Soto-Abril, Deputy Director of the Trust for the Americas,

Martha Ruiz (Colombia), Editor of Justice and Security of the Colombian magazine “Semana”.

Victor Alistar, Executive director of Transparency International Romania

Pantelis Kapsis, Managing director Ta Nea, member of Lambrakis Press

 

Main Issues Covered

This workshop was based in three facts:

  • Investigative journalism performs a key role in the fight against corruption since thanks to journalists’ work and contributions, citizens become aware of the cases of corruption occurring across society.
  • Investigative journalism is a robust discipline with a consolidated trajectory where the search for information is supported by diverse strategies and practices with different levels of formality.
  • The legal recognition of the right to public information has been spreading around the world with more than 70 countries passing regulations and around a 50% of the population has explicitly been recongnized to exercised its right to information.

Based on these 3 facts:

How can we assess the efficiency of FOI regulation in terms of its contribution to the development of investigative journalism?

How strong and widespread has the use of this regulation been as a tool for journalists to conduct their investigations?

How does FOI regulation articulate with the pre-existent and informal practices to access to public information?

Panellists helped us to solve this issue:

Victor theoretically reviewed the relevance of whistleblowers in the development of investigative journalism.

Marta put this new landscape in perspective by showing how difficult it is to “formally” access to information when it comes to crime and narcotraficking, and how other sources and informal avenues of information are still important.

Panelists analyzed another determining aspect for the development of journalist investigations: funds and media corporate governance

Finally Dario reviewed some good news: certain progress in the Latin American region and one specific experience of a collective action of journalists in the promotion of access to public information.

 

Main Outcomes

1. The workshop provided information regarding the relevance of investigative journalism in the fight against corruption.

2. The workshop covered the obstacles and opportunities that journalists face in their everyday duty.

3. The session has informed the audience about the initiatives developed in different regions to promote investigative journalism and effective access to public information.

4. The workshop pointed out the need of whistleblowers protection laws.

5. The session remarked the importance of the alliances between civil society, mass media and journalists in the fight against corruption.

6. The activity presented the tension between freedom press and the economic influence of  private sector and governments in the mass media and the work of journalists.

 

Main Outputs

1.Description of the strategies available for the development of investigative journalism

2. Articulation of strategies and diversification of relationships for the improvement of investigative journalism

3 Description of possible alternative funding to support independent investigative journalism

4- Set of possible legal strategies to promote acces to information and fight against corruption

5-  Review of International Conventions as mechanism to promote acces to information

 

Recommendations, Follow-up Actions

In general during the workshop the followong recommendatios were pointed out:

-More advocacy strategies to have whistlebower proteccion laws are needed

-Need of improving production of information (databases) for journalists work

-More articulated  work and actions between NGOs, academics, journalists, judges are needed

-Need for more independece of the journalists related to public and private sector

-Need for looking for independent sources to support journalism activities

-Need for paying attention on government and companies influence over the mass media activities

-More use of whistleblowers for the investigative journalism activity in combination with new acces information regulations

-More use of Anticorruption Conventions and in general Human Rights Conventions to advocate for freedom acces to information and whistleblower protection regulations

 

Signed

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6.7 Investigative journalism, access to public information and media corporate governance sr

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