Constraints And Challenges Of Investigative Journalism Against Corruption

Ines Selvood, Gerardo Reyes, Tamoa Calzadilla, Guido Rodriguez, Juan Luis Font, 12th IACC, Workshop report, Development, Sustainability, Civil Society

Main Issues Covered


Investigative reporting on corruption cases in Venezuela and Panama. How journalists are investigated when they report on a corruption case, the judicial investigation instead of following the fact that the journalists found, investigates the way the journalist gets the information. There is no Access to Information Law in Venezuela and this is a big problem because it is very difficult to get public information.

Reporters of “Panamá America” went undercover to demonstrate a corruption case. But, these journalists committed a “crime” while the investigation: they paid a bribe for obtaining a driving license without doing the process required. The discussion around ethic issues when investigating corruption is still not finished.

Again, the journalists were denounced for undermining the honor of a public official. Libel acts in Latin America act always as a threat for independent investigative journalism.

Investigation units in newspapers (Guatemala Case): after some corruption cases that were demonstrated by the newspaper, there were threats against journalists that report on corruption cases (money laundry). Constrains and tensions between journalists and government.

Impacts of corruption cases investigated by journalists in Latin America. Miami is a city where most of the corrupted go when they are escaping from the justice. Why corruption is still blocking the way and how does this applies to journalism? Many presidents in Latin America left office because of corruption cases but many of them are back. There is no study that can give us a figure of the impact of investigative journalism in the fight against corruption. We still don’t know whether investigative journalism is helping to improve our societies.

Self-censorship is worst than censorship form the government. When a editor calls a journalists and says that he can’t publish that article because it will end a political contact, that stays in the backlight on the press room and no one will publish anything about that.


Main Outcomes


  • Awareness among participants increased about linkages between journalism and the judiciary.

  • Partnerships between donors and investigative journalism where strengthened.

  • Linkage between European journalists and Latina American networks of investigative reporting where strengthened.


Main Outputs


  • Different forms of constrains and difficulties on investigating corruption where identified;

  • Role of the State in funding the media and pressures they suffer where identified as something common of the region.

  • Areas of further cooperation and potential partners identified.


Recommendations, Follow-up Actions


  • Civil society, donors and journalists should lobby for access to information laws in the region.


Workshop Highlights (including interesting quotes)


Investigations against journalists en Latin America develop very fast while the investigations on corruption that journalists present to the justice go backwards”, Guido Rodriguez, Panama.

One of the critics of journalism could be that sometimes journalists like the cases when they break the news, and then there is no pressure to continuing with the investigation once the public announcement is over. And sometimes this contributes to the society to forget about the corrupt and the corruption cases”, Gerardo Reyes, Colombia.

Investigative Journalism gives a prestige to the newspaper but it does not give profit”, Juan Luis Font, Guatemala.

docConstraints And Challenges Of Investigative Journalism Against Corruption

Brazil 2012

Brazil 2012

IACC Video

IACC Video