The 14th African Investigative Journalism Conference was a busy, and intense three days of learning, connecting and networking of African and global muckrakers. The conference brought together over 350 delegates from 36 different countries from October 29-31, 2018. We share some of the highlights from the conference.
‘Naming, shaming and jailing’
Award-winning Ghanaian investigative journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas, encouraged journalists working in Africa to “get out of dogmatic ways of doing journalism”. “My friends in the West don’t like me for saying this but my principles remain naming, shaming and jailing and I believe that we must go beyond the kind of journalism where we tell stories and leave it up to the law,” Anas said. He has caught corrupt football receiving bribes on hidden cameras, posed as a mentally ill patient at a psychiatric facility and disguised himself as a ‘client’ with a malformed child in order to expose the killing of children with congenital defects.
Philippines president’s war on drugs is a war on the people
Pulitzer Prize-winning and Reuters special correspondent, Clare Baldwin shared the work she and two of her colleagues have done on extrajudicial killings that still happened every week in the Philippines, and that President Rodrigo Duterte had not contradicted any facts published by Reuters.
The investigation followed the election in 2016 of Duterte as president of the Philippines after 22 years as mayor of Davao City. During his election campaign and throughout his presidency, Duterte has promoted the idea that all drug addicts should be killed. Within a year of Duterte’s presidency, the police had killed over 3 900 people, in “anti-narcotic operations”.
Exposé prompts cough syrup ban in Nigeria
Nigerian investigative journalist Ruona Meyer shared her experience of uncovering the illegal codeine trade in Nigeria. Meyer, a graduate of the Wits journalism programme, worked in collaboration with the BBC’s Africa Eye in producing the documentary, Sweet Sweet Codeine. The documentary led to cough syrup imports and production being stopped as well as changes in government policies such as the criminalisation of the distribution of codeine.
Befekadu Hailu Techane casts spotlight on press freedom at Carlos Cardoso Memorial Lecture
The golden thread running through the annual Carlos Cardoso Memorial Lecture was the vital role journalism plays in upholding and promoting democratic societies. Ethiopian writer, blogger and activist, Befekadu Hailu Techane, who started his address by saying he had received authorisation from the Ethiopian government to address attendees at the lecture.
The bleak picture he painted of the lack of press freedom throughout Ethiopia’s history made it clear why getting authorisation to deliver the lecture would have been necessary for him. “Media is the soul and flesh of democracy, therefore it is easy to imagine that Ethiopia has never had a strong, independent media,” Techane said. Read the full text of Techane’s lecture.
As per tradition, the student newsroom was a success. About 20 fellowships were awarded to journalism students from various universities in South Africa. They were part of the student newsroom that covered the conference and produced over 30 stories. Check out the news coverage, a collection of photos and some presentations.
Africa Check Awards
Investigative stories by journalists from Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa took home this year’s Africa Check Awards. The annual awards honour journalism by African-based media in the growing field of fact-checking.
According to Africa Check, the awards received over 150 entries from more than 20 countries including Ethiopia, Nigeria, Egypt, South Africa, Zimbabwe, to name but a few.