The Challenges of Investigative Journalism
Thirteen journalists from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia recently
attended at AUB a six-day training workshop on investigative journalism.
The workshop, organized in April by the Arab Reporters for Investigative
Journalism (ARIJ), an independent non-profit organization established
by Arab media activists and media organizations in cooperation with the
Copenhagen-based International Media Support (IMS), was moderated by several
ARIJ members, including AUB Professor Nabil Dajani, chairman of the board
of ARIJ, and AUB Assistant Professor Hossein Shahidi. "Investigative
journalism is very important for building a better civil society that
holds its own government and politicians accountable for their actions.
It would also help improve the social environment, fight corruption, and
keep people better informed," said Dajani. "That's why we decided
to start training workshops in the region to develop a core of investigative
Dajani explained that ARIJ will be doing three training workshops every
year. "Already, UNDP/Syria has invited me to conduct one there,"
Al-Rai Al-Aam Al-Kuwaitiyya journalist Rania Tadros, who attended the
workshop, said she had learned a lot about investigative journalism during
the training. "I learned that I cannot take anything for granted,
and I should keep checking the facts... Also, I learned that if you scratch
beneath the surface, there is always something worth investigating."
Trainers Rana Sabbagh, the executive director of ARIJ, and Pia Thordsen,
a Danish TV journalist who was conducting the training, said they were
impressed with the proactive and enthusiastic attitude of the journalists
Yehya Shucair, another trainer with ARIJ, said that in addition to conducting
training workshops, ARIJ will be preparing a training manual for investigative
journalism in the Arab world. No such manual currently exists.
According to the ARIJ website, the organization was established after
a series of meetings held in Copenhagen, Damascus, Beirut, and Amman in
order to support investigative journalism in the Arab region. "ARIJ
intends to support Arab journalists who are interested in researching
and reporting investigative pieces through Arab and international experts
as well as in legal support, offer cooperation with local and international
media, all with the ultimate aim of highlighting well prepared professional
investigative reports " said the website.