The conference was filled with shining examples of other major cross-border investigative collaborations as well. For example, six finalist organizations were honored with ICIJ`s Daniel Pearl Awards for Outstanding International Investigative Reporting, which are named in honor of The Wall Street Journal reporter kidnapped and killed in Pakistan in 2002.The Wall Street Journal’s prize-winning probe examined the spread of drug-resistant forms of tuberculosis that have swept across India and beyond. Journal reporters found that the spread of the disease was exacerbated by a World Health Organization policy that encouraged countries to prioritize regular TB at the expense of drug-resistant strains, and that Indian health authorities had sought to suppress evidence of what was happening. The journalists risked contracting TB by choosing not to wear masks when interacting with patients.
Swedish Television´s Uppdrag granskning was honored for its investigation of the Swedish telecom giant TeliaSonera’s collaboration with dictatorships in Central Asia. The reporting revealed that TeliaSonera had helped oppressive regimes track dissidents and human rights activists, and paid extensive bribes to gain access to the market in Uzbekistan.
“At a time when surveillance by governments and security services is one of the hottest topics in global human rights, the Swedish Television series raised timely and discomforting questions about the corporate telecommunications company’s ‘look-the-other-way’ relationships with repressive and evil regimes,” wrote the judges.
A special citation was awarded to the Chicago Tribune for its report on of how fugitives charged with rape, murder and other violent felonies easily evaded justice simply by crossing America’s borders.
Clearly, we live in a shrinking world where problems are more and more trans-national. Giant corporations operate their businesses on a global basis, as do international governmental organizations and non-governmental organizations. Environmental crises are global, as are financial flows and financial crises. Journalism has been late to tackle investigations on a global level. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists was one of the first to recognize the need to organize cross-border investigations that match the way the world works, and in ways that a national media organization cannot match. ICIJ`s success is now being replicated by other groups, as the GIJC made clear this week.
The financial underpinnings of this new global journalism are still weak. But we can only hope that through collaboration and international support, a new golden age for journalism on a global level can be built. The results this can produce in terms of transparency, accountability and impact can be extraordinary.
Until next week,