The Mauritian leaks discussion spoke on the importance of correct research.

By Tapela Lungu

Nearly 40 years after the birth of investigative journalism, society was graced with the beauty and doctrines of journalism. This was done with the insertion of probing information that usually leaves people in awe of what happens behind the scenes. This was a core point of discussion in a talk on the Mauritius leaks at the African Investigative Journalism Conference held at Wits University.

Providing proof through candid research and practical accountability reports have aided in strong investigative projects, which give investigative journalism a brave glow, different from traditional journalism.

Contemporarily, it is the power of collaborative efforts that was cited for making all the difference. An insightful illustration was that of the International Consortium for Investigative Journalism (ICIJ), which was a composition of journalists across the globe whose sole purpose was to cultivate a global community of reporters.

On July 23, 2019, the ICIJ published an expose of companies that were taking advantage of the low tax rates, diverting tax revenues from the countries they operate from.The list had approximately 200 companies which included Whirlpool, Total South Africa and Mayo Clinic.

This information was derived from over 200,000 documents that were leaked, among those included emails and bank transactions.

Ugandan Daily Monitor reporter, Frederick Musisi said it was always difficult to work as an individual journalist when covering in depth stories hence the need for collaboration and  consolidation. “The power of collaboration is that it is time efficient, effective, and thorough and usually well-coordinated,” he said.

He added that the Panama Papers and Mauritius Leak stories produced by ICIJ were the result of effective collaboration within the organisation.

The Tanzanian Journalists Alliance President, Simon Mkina emphasised that ICIJ’s focus was on a global scale rather than looking at individual or country issues.

Mkina mentioned that ICIJ was also an all-rounder organisation that investigated and reported on different topics apart from illicit money demeanors.

“We call this bang reporting and this is usually established from tips that expose what is hidden from the world on a global scale,” Mkina said.

Musisi encouraged an impact-driven motivation and passion for the profession when asked about what should inspire a budding investigative journalist in spite of different political and economic conditions.

Musisi delightfully expressed that such impact-driven motivation allowed the public to scrutinise and implement proper decisions whenever the public were voting for their leaders.

Both Musisi and Mkina explained this during this year’s African Investigative Journalism Conference held in Johannesburg South Africa.

FEATURED IMAGE: Tanzanian Journalism Alliance President, Simon Mkina and Ugandan investigative journalist Frederik Musisi answering some questions during their ‘’Mauritius Leaks: The Power of Collaboration’’seminar. Photo: Brandon van Wyk