With deforestation growing rapidly, and retaining forests key to halting climate change, getting data on what's happening is both critical and challenging. Yet countries with over half the world’s forests lack accessible information on concessions, according to a new study by the World Resources Institute. The study, Logging, Mining and Agricultural Data Transparency: A Survey of 14 Forested Countries, found that not only are freedom of information laws effective in improving access to forest data, but countries with FOI laws tend to disclose concession data more proactively than those without them.
Source: World Resources Institute
How do you track $21 billion in laundered money from Russian banks? The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project and Russia's Novaya Gazeta obtained detailed banking records for over 120 suspect accounts, and shared the data with reporters from over 30 outlets (including 14 GIJN members). Dubbed "The Russian Laundromat Exposed," the project details "how more than $20.8 billion was taken out of Russia and laundered, who got the money, and why some of the world’s largest banks failed to shut the scheme down."
Science magazine, the prestigious journal published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, has launched the Science Fund for Investigative Reporting. The new fund will support “ambitious projects in investigative reporting and data journalism… stories about the scientific community and its practices, the influence of money and politics in science, and science-related public policy that can only be brought to light through extensive reporting, documents, and data.” The fund plans on awarding four to five annual grants of between $10,000 to $15,000. Smaller (or larger) grants are possible, depending on the project.
Starting February 28, journalists from 20 countries have been engaged in a joint campaign to ask 7000 members of parliament to disclose their tax returns. The campaign was inspired by the 2012 groundbreaking investigation by Pakistani journalist Umar Cheema which revealed that 70% of Pakistani’s 446 MPs had failed to file tax returns, including the president of Pakistan and 34 government ministers. The project is being coordinated by London-based nonprofit Finance Uncovered, a GIJN Member.
Source: Finance Uncovered
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists has spun off from the Center Public Integrity, the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit news organization that housed it for nearly 20 years. Known for its cross-border investigative collaborations, most notably the Panama Papers, ICIJ was in negotiations with the parent CPI for months to become an independent entity. "We believe this new structure will allow us to extend our global reach and impact even farther," wrote ICIJ Director Gerard Ryle.