Africa’s investigative journalists are playing a critical role in unpacking the continent’s expanding pandemic and have already snapped some governments out of their early complacency on COVID-19 preparedness. However, amid warnings about the potential impact of the virus on the continent’s 1.1 billion citizens, four leading African journalists shared strategies for coverage in this critical time in a webinar attended by reporters from 57 countries.
An investigative journalism nonprofit based in Nigeria, the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, has pushed the envelope with its approach to investigating the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Executive Director Dayo Aiyetan talks about how the unit has carried out its investigations in the midst of the lockdown and how reporters are holding the government to account over its response.
Nigeria has a stubborn legacy of corruption that dates back decades. The MacArthur Foundation is investing some $67 million in investigative journalism, transparency, and good governance in the country — an ambitious experiment that could serve as a model for other states plagued by corruption.
Journalists for the Daily Trust in Nigeria told the Committee to Protect Journalists that the military conducted forensic searches on their computers and mobile phones following the publication of a story about a military operation. CPJ’s Jonathan Rozen writes that these raids are emblematic of a global trend of law enforcement seizing journalists’ phones and computers — some of their most important tools.
A collective of African Investigative journalists has found that publishing stories about corruption in their home countries doesn’t always put much pressure on those leaders who plunder state resources, but publishing in the countries where their donors live has the potential to hit them where it hurts — their bank accounts.
The Global Investigative Journalism Network is calling on Nigerian authorities to immediately drop all charges against the publisher and a reporter for the investigative news site Premium Times. In a letter sent to Nigerian officials today, GIJN Executive Director David E. Kaplan called the charges “an attempt to intimidate Premium Times from independent inquiry.”