Journalism of investigation in Africa:”A hard nut to crack”

In a conference that brought together hundreds of investigative journalists from across the globe, African Investigative reporters say they meet a number of challenges when doing their job.

Mwape Mumwenda : « Investigative journalism requires passion, dedication and focus »

Mwape Mumwenda : « Investigative journalism requires passion, dedication and focus »

They say journalists who conducting investigation into some sensitive issues such as corruption, killings by high government officials are seen as the enemies of the country.

They say the biggest challenges that they face is the limitation to the access of information (lack of sources), threats (arrests, being killed,..) they receive from government officials involved in criminal acts being investigated.

Some journalists say they would not wish to write a certain story because of the time it would take to investigate it, the challenges they would face in accessing the information and the fear for their lives.

“Sometimes we find that we are putting our lives in danger when investigating a certain story which touches on government officials, influential people in the country and yet many of us have families. However, we are encouraged by the fact that we are aware that we are fighting for a noble cause which is to inform the population with facts,” says Mwape Kumwenda, Head of Community and Political News Muvi Television Zambia.

The critical financial situation of African media also impacts the work of journalists as they cannot work independently if they are financially dependent. Some investigative journalist take bribes and this leads to the loss of trust on the part of information consumers, says Mrs Kumwenda.

The four-day Global Investigative Journalism Conference that is taking place in Johannesburg, South Africa was attended by at least 300 journalists from nearly 100 developing and transitioning countries. It takes place once in two years and this is the first time it is held in Africa.