Opinion/ Comment

Opinion article – The power of networks for Investigative Journalism

Written by Emilia Díaz-Struck, Executive Director, Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN)

Last month more than 2,100 investigative journalists from more than 130 countries attended the Global Investigative Journalism Conference (GIJC23), held in Gothenburg, Sweden. This was the largest event organized by the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) in partnership with Fojo Media Institute and Föreningen Grävande Journalister. It was seven times larger than the 2003 gathering in Copenhagen, Denmark, that led to the foundation of GIJN 20 years ago.

GIJC23 was full of knowledge sharing and networking that allowed journalists from all continents to exchange experiences and ideas. Through workshops, sessions and in corridors, reporters shared innovative methods that have helped advance investigations. Journalists also talked about tools, resources, and strategies to overcome various threats: including censorship, disinformation, hacking, lawsuits, and personal security risks, among others.

More than 220 fellows -supported by sponsors and GIJN partners, including iMEdD– attended the conference. The journalists, mostly from the Global South, were from close to 100 countries and territories. This contributed to the conversations and the richness of the networking that took place, by having a larger representation of countries and journalistic experiences at the conference.

At a time when challenges and threats are increasing; training and resource sharing are key to continue strengthening our community. The power of networking allows us to find answers together and explore opportunities that also emerge in the current context. These include data analysis and AI to uncover broken systems, satellite imagery to reduce risks and advance reporting efforts, cross-border collaborations to connect the dots and expand the reporting power.

GIJC23 also served to remind us that we are not alone. Powers have launched campaigns to discredit journalists, surveilled reporters, and initiated legal actions against media; trying to isolate and silence the press. Networks, generosity, and resource sharing have made it possible to find answers and ways to continue doing investigative journalism in this context.

The result: global watchdog reporting -including from an increasing number of investigative journalists in exile- that exposes wrongdoing, human rights violations, inequality, corruption, money laundering, environmental crimes, among other topics. This has led to the publication of stories of public interest for citizens around the world, that otherwise would remain hidden or untold.

Through its resource center, advisory services, help desk, publications, trainings, and conferences, among other initiatives, GIJN will continue supporting investigative journalists around the world. Together with the global investigative journalism community, GIJN member organizations, partners, and supporters -including iMEdD-, we will work to keep advancing the power of networks for investigative journalism. Accountability matters!

GIJC23 stories can be found in the special section on GIJN’s site. Additional GIJN resources recently published include reporter’s guides to investigating war crimes, investigating digital threats and researching online.