‘al Sawt al Hurr’ The Arabic Network for Media Support has issued a new study on investigative journalism under title “Investigative Reporting in Egypt: experiences, success and future developments ” in a number of Egyptian newspapers , addressed the investigative reporting since 2009 and its development and areas focused on by the impact of political changes it, and the most important obstacles and dangers faced by journalists working on this type of investigation , as well as the future of investigative journalism and the impact of the television material .
Many journalists see obtaining reliable news and information from trustworthy sources as the major challenge of their profession, even more so because demands for speed and accuracy add to the challenge. Yet, obtaining information that is not readily available or deliberately hidden, vague an unprecise, poses an even bigger challenge.
Investigative reporters look into the background and details of events which have not been mentioned or documented with evidence and facts. Finding evidence is often a challenge because of the presence of corruption in official and unofficial bodies in the Egypt; in the crime scenes and any other situation that is full of risks.
In spite of the fact that Egypt still does not have any legislation that guarantees access to information regulates the freedom and or criminalizes the deliberate suppression of information, journalists of some privately owned newspapers, such as ‘alMasry alYoum’, started to look for news facts that were not present in the daily news such as corruption, crimes and other social phenomena that negatively affect society. In 2005, the newspaper published a series of reports that revealed fraud in the parliamentary elections of that year, which now can be seen as the start of investigative journalism in the country. al Masry al Youm’ decided to systematically develop the competences to in this field of journalism. It created a special section, selected candidate journalists van contracted foreign expertise to train them and supervise their work. The initiative was soon followed by ‘Youm7’ the leading news website in the country.
The January 25, 2011 revolution gave a tremendous push to investigative journalism and highly critical stories and reports started to fill the newspapers, especially on issues related to health and environment. Soon, crime and politics followed suit. In the new freedom, new media organizations were formed like ‘al Watan’, ‘al Sabah’ and ‘Veto’ website and others, already present expanded such as ‘al Shorouk’ newspaper.
Contrary to the expectations and fear in some media circles, investigative journalism did not collapse because of political unrest, regime changes, and waves of repression and financial crises that followed. Several journalists who contributed to this study gave the same explanation: “To us, who work in investigative journalism, finding the truth is not just a job that brings money, it is a mission, a passion, an adventure we can’t stay away from and a possible pathway to professional recognition and glory at local, regional and international level.”
‘al Sawt al Hurr’ has organized training projects in 2013 and 2014 to boost professional capacities in this field. It has trained some 30 journalists, representing more than 20 media organizations and provided participants with coaches to help them develop realistic and feasible proposals and put these in practice. It has also held several competitions and awarded some eight journalists for their outstanding achievements.
The brief, tumultuous and brave history of investigative journalism in the country has not yet been given the attention it deserves. The causes of its success and failures have not been analyzed, though this could help to predict and support how it can further develop in the coming years. With the present study in this edition of Media-Monitor, ‘al Sawt al Hurr’ would like to make the first step.
It also wants to honor the courageous men and women who through their work have given the professional development of journalism in the country a strong push forward.
To download the Study click here English