Investigative journalism

form of journalism in which reporters deeply investigate a single topic

Investigative journalism is a form of journalism in which reporters spend significant amounts of time to investigate a single topic of interest, such as serious crimes, political corruption, or corporate wrongdoing. Practitioners sometimes use the terms "watchdog reporting" or "accountability reporting". Most investigative journalism has traditionally been conducted by newspapers, wire services, and freelance journalists. The growth of media conglomerates since the 1980s has been accompanied by massive cuts in the budgets for investigative journalism.

QuotesEdit

(most recent first)

  • In a patently political decision, the U.K. High Court reversed the British lower court’s denial of extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the United States on a narrow ground, despite the recent revelations of a CIA plot to kidnap and assassinate him... Assange was charged by the Trump administration with violation of the Espionage Act for revealing evidence of U.S. war crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantánamo Bay. He could be sentenced to 175 years in prison if he is tried and convicted in the United States. But instead of dismissing Trump’s indictment, the Biden administration continues to pursue the case against Assange, notwithstanding the grave threats his prosecution poses to investigative and national security journalism.
  • Two days before the High Court ruling,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken declared at the so-called Summit for Democracy, “Media freedom plays an indispensable role in informing the public, holding governments accountable, and telling stories that otherwise would not be told. The U.S. will continue to stand up for the brave and necessary work of journalists around the world.”
    If Assange is tried, convicted and imprisoned for doing what journalists routinely do, it will send a chilling message to journalists that they publish material critical of the U.S. government at their peril.
    But by vigorously pursuing Assange’s extradition, the U.S. is doing precisely the opposite. The prosecution of Assange is the first time a journalist has been indicted under the Espionage Act for publishing truthful information.
  • As mainstream news outlets become increasingly complacent, and even supportive of pro-war policies, it becomes more essential that anti-war voices, and anti-war journalists in particular, resist the attempt by the United States to set the precedent that the act of publishing war crimes is a punishable offense.
    After 20 years of the United States military destroying entire countries under the guise of fighting terrorism, there is finally a partial reckoning with U.S. warmongering around the world. It cannot be said that Americans are particularly anti-war now, but at the very least, Biden’s decision to pull U.S. troops from Afghanistan was widely popular across the political spectrum. Yet, many news outlets instead chose to emphasize the minority position on Afghanistan by prioritizing commentary from interventionists and weapons lobbyists over anti-war scholars and activists, and by falsely representing the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan as a positive. This sudden emphasis on the supposedly positive role of U.S. occupation in Afghanistan is a particularly dangerous line for journalists to push considering how little effort the U.S. media placed on covering the conflict prior to withdrawal. One study found that in 2020, three major news outlets gave the conflict a combined coverage of less than five minutes.
  • In contrast to publications that take such a careless or outright supportive stance on the irreparable harm of U.S. foreign policy are WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange. Following his view that “if wars can be started with lies, they can be stopped by truth,” Assange has published some of the most vital information on U.S. foreign policy of the 21st century with perfect accuracy. Some of the information provided to the public (thanks to the anonymous online source submission system developed by Assange) includes the CIA rendition program, detainee abuse at Guantanamo Bay, and U.S. war crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, and more. It is this view on publishing which understands war as something to be exposed and resisted that has made Assange such a hated figure by warmongers in the United States.
  • Despite the many problems with the mainstream press, journalism as an institution remains one of the most effective methods of resisting, and at times, ending wars. Even those distrustful of the press should be willing to oppose attacks on the right to a free press when such attacks occur. It is the guarantee of press freedom that enables anti-war reporting to make its way into the mainstream at times, shifting people's understanding of what their government does.
    The press still has the power to challenge and prevent U.S. wars. However, this power hangs in the balance in the form of Julian Assange's fate. Recent coverage of the Afghanistan withdrawal shows the potential for two types of press. One which sees its role as the mouthpiece for the most war-hungry members of a global empire or one that shows the true nature of war to the public, enabling them to oppose it and giving its victims some justice. For anti-war advocates who would rather see the latter option covering foreign policy, it is essential to show strong support for Julian Assange and demand the charges against him be dropped immediately.
  • When you consider that 100 percent of WikiLeaks leaks are authentic and accurate, you can understand the impact, as well as the fury generated among secretive powerful forces. Julian Assange is a political refugee in London for one reason only: WikiLeaks told the truth about the greatest crimes of the 21st century. He is not forgiven for that, and he should be supported by journalists and by people everywhere.
  • When I began as a journalist, especially as a foreign correspondent, the press in the UK was conservative and owned by powerful establishment forces, as it is now. But the difference compared to today is that there were spaces for independent journalism that dissented from the received 'wisdom' of authority. That space has now all but closed and independent journalists have gone to the internet, or to a metaphoric underground.
  • The single biggest challenge is rescuing journalism from its deferential role as the stenographer of great power. The United States has constitutionally the freest press on earth, yet in practice it has a media obsequious to the formulas and deceptions of power. That is why the US was effectively given media approval to invade Iraq, and Libya, and Syria and dozens of other countries.
  • WikiLeaks has achieved far more than what The New York Times and The Washington Post in their celebrated incarnations did. No newspaper has come close to matching the secrets and lies of power that Assange and Snowden have disclosed. That both men are fugitives is indicative of the retreat of liberal democracies from principles of freedom and justice. Why is WikiLeaks a landmark in journalism? Because its revelations have told us, with 100 per cent accuracy, how and why much of the world is divided and run.
  • You have to start with the truth. The truth is the only way that we can get anywhere. Because any decision-making that is based upon lies or ignorance can't lead to a good conclusion.
  • But for the media to name their coverage of the 2003 invasion of Iraq the same as what the Pentagon calls it—everyday seeing 'Operation Iraqi Freedom'—you have to ask:
    'If this were state controlled media, how would it be any different?'
  • We journalists... have to be brave enough to defy those who seek our collusion in selling their latest bloody adventure in someone else's country... That means always challenging the official story, however patriotic that story may appear, however seductive and insidious it is. For propaganda relies on us in the media to aim its deceptions not at a far away country but at you at home... In this age of endless imperial war, the lives of countless men, women and children depend on the truth or their blood is on us... Those whose job it is to keep the record straight ought to be the voice of people, not power.
  • We are beckoned to see the world through a one-way mirror, as if we are threatened and innocent and the rest of humanity is threatening, or wretched, or expendable. Our memory is struggling to rescue the truth that human rights were not handed down as privileges from a parliament, or a boardroom, or an institution, but that peace is only possible with justice and with information that gives us the power to act justly.
    • John Pilger Sydney Peace Prize acceptance speech, University of Sydney, 4 November 2009
  • Going to where the silence is. That is the responsibility of a journalist: giving a voice to those who have been forgotten, forsaken, and beaten down by the powerful.
    • Amy Goodman in The Exception to the Rulers: Exposing Oily Politicians, War Profiteers & the Media That Love Them (2004) written with David Goodman

See AlsoEdit

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