Workshop 6.7

Workshop 6.7 Investigative journalism, access to public information and media corporate governance: is there anything new? 

Stream 4 Sustainable Globalisation

Coordinator: Inés Selvood, Clarin Newspaper and University of Buenos Aires
Date: Sunday 11:00 to 13:00
Location: MC 3

Investigative journalism performs a key role in the fight against corruption. Thanks to journalists' work and contributions, citizens become aware of the cases of corruption occurred across society. Investigative journalist is a robust discipline with a consolidated trajectory where the search of information is supported by diverse strategies and practices with different levels of formality. Public records, academic archives and the information informally disclosed by public officials constitute the sources that allow journalists to access to public information and to develop their investigations.
If these are the most common and consolidated practices in the journalistic activities, how can we describe the impact of access to public information regulation on journalism? In the last years, more than 70 countries around the world have regulated this right by explicitly guaranteeing it through laws and decrees. Throughout this process, one the most common arguments presented by civil society coalitions was the relevance and impact of the formal recognition of this right in the journalists´ activities. In this context and so far, how can we assess the efficiency of FOI regulation in terms of its contribution to the development of investigative journalism? How strong and extended have been the use of this regulation as a tool for journalists to conduct their investigations?
These innovations have operated in a particular scenario where mass media companies had increasingly gained political and economic power and where the use of new technologies had changed and broadened their scope. It has been pointed out that the lack of independency of media enterprises has limited the development of investigative journalism and constrained it to a more market-orientated basis. A series of question arises from this phenomenon in order to guarantee an independent voice in the fight against corruption: what happened when mass media are not independent from political power, their ownership is concentrated and they do not follow internal transparency standards?
Considering these corporate issues, the workshop will focus not only on the tools to available to access to more and better information but also in the mechanisms available to improve the framework where the journalists should develop their researches.
During the workshop participants and panellists will be able to identify the different strategies to access to public information and debate on their distinctive contribution for investigative adventures. The workshop will also cover a range of mechanisms, standards and tools that can be set to encourage transparent corporate governance in mass media companies.

Moderator: Natalia Torres, University College London
Rapporteur: Pilar Arcidiácono, University of Buenos Aires

Martha Ruiz, Editor of Justice and Security for the magazine Semana

Dario Soto-Abril, Deputy Director of the Trust for the Americas

Victor Alistar, Executive director of Transparency International Romania

Pantelis Kapsis, Managing director Ta Nea, member of Lambrakis Press