Strengthening Investigative Journalism in Malawi: Key Step in Revealing Corruption Cases
- Published: Sunday, 04 December 2016 00:15
Investigative journalism in Malawi is facing various difficulties, including inadequate training,lack of resources, and in-existence of an access to information law, intimidation,
political interference and lack of available time for investigative pieces.
Given the key role that the media play in unraveling corruption cases and the many challenges that the media face in this regard. The National Integrity Platform, with support from Transparency International and GIZ, has in the past months facilitated a number of trainings for journalists in order to address these identified gaps.
Recently, the NIP organized a 2 days training in Blantyre for 9 journalists who were selected on the basis of a story idea on integrity issues in Malawi, the journalists were introduced to key concepts and tools in investigative journalism, including the formulation of a hypothesis, drafting of a source map and a story planner to plan their investigative work. The journalists were given elaborate feedback on their story ideas and were helped to turn those ideas into a story concept that is worthwhile and feasible to investigate.
Collins Mtika, an experienced investigative journalist who is the director of the Center of Investigative Journalism in Malawi, facilitated the workshop. In October the journalists regrouped to present their revised story concepts. Currently they are working on their stories with small grants which the Center of Investigative Journalism in Malawi was able to offer with financial support from GIZ.
A follow-up workshop, supported by GIZ, took place in November and had a wider outreach: 20 journalists participated. They were trained by Will Fitzgibbon, the Africa reporter of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. Fitzgibbon had previously worked in Malawi when investigating the Kayelekera uranium mine as part of an investigative project on the Australian mining company Paladin. He showed the participants how international networks can help investigative journalists to overcome the above-mentioned difficulties. Teaming up with journalists from other countries can give Malawian journalists access to grants, knowhow and equipment that is not readily available in the country. Kandani Ngwira, freelance journalist and a participant in the workshop, could not agree more: he enthusiastically presented his experience working with the US-based Center for Investigative Reporting on a story on the malpractices of charity DAPP in Malawi. At the end of the workshop, journalists were asked to present a story idea. Topics ranged from corruption in orphanages, to mining companies, illegal deforestation and mispricing in the construction industry.
Both workshops started by elaborating on the various problems that journalists face when they want to do investigative work in Malawi but ended by explaining how all these problems can be overcome. The workshops proved to be a useful forum for the exchange of experiences between journalists from different media houses. Issues of corruption are rife and journalists therefore have plenty of ideas, they just need a little push, in the form of technical, financial support and collaboration, to get those stories out there.