India's Right to Information (RTI) Act, put into law 11 years ago, is widely hailed as a success. But over 300 activists seeking information against officials, local contractors, politicians, and other vested interests have been attacked, harassed or murdered. Up to 48 people have lost their lives since 2008. "RTI activists are vulnerable because they live in the same areas as public authorities and political leaders who do not want information about their activities to be disclosed," says Suhas Chakma of the Asian Centre for Human Rights.
A perfect storm is descending on freedom of the press in Japan, reports Jeff Kingston, director of Asian Studies at that country's Temple University. Japan just sank to #72 in RSF's annual press freedom rankings, down from #11 in 2010. The UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression this week gave a press conference decrying censorship, weak legal protections, and media intimidation in Japan — effects of initiatives by the Shinzo Abe government.
Source: Japan Times
On the 100th anniversary of the award, the Pulitzer Prizes today honored investigative reporting in various categories. Among the 2016 winners: Associated Press for slavery exposure (Public Service); Tampa Bay Times on mental institutions and failing schools (Investigative & Local Reporting); ProPublica & Marshall Project on police and rape (Explanatory Reporting); Joby Warrick for Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS (Book).
The winners of the European Press Prize were announced this week. Top honors in the investigative category went to "Those Who have been Raped Raise Your Hand," by Marion Quillard in France's Revue XXI. The story reports that inflated rape statistics and money-hungry NGOs have falsely made Congro "the rape capital of the world” The innovation award went to "Killing and Dying for Allah – Five Portuguese Members of Islamic State" in Portugal's Expresso.
Source: European Press Prize
From a CIA plot to discredit Putin to a corporate media cover-up, the wacky theories behind the Panama Papers are growing. Some are fueled by Russian state-funded propaganda, others by "mostly pseudonymous blogs that will tell you all about the Panama Papers, and toss in some top-notch stuff about 9/11 and Atlantis for good measure," reports VICE's Harry Cheadle. Might it be possible that the project is just what it says: a groundbreaking journalism collaboration that has exposed how the rich and powerful hide their wealth overseas?
The 2015 IRE Awards honor 20 impressive projects, ranging from small and large print markets to radio, TV, books, and student work. IRE medals, the group's top honors, go to OCCRP's Khadija Project, AP's Seafood from Slaves, a ProPublica/NPR series on poor worker protections, and the Tampa Bay Times' failing schools reporting. Lots of other impressive winners, including UC Berkeley's Investigative Reporting Program and CIR/Reveal.
Source: Investigative Reporters and Editors