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Programme Papers from the 9th IACC
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The 9th International Anti-Corruption Conference

The Papers

Using Information and Media to Strengthen Public and Private Accountability:
The Role of Investigative Reporting
Corruption in the Philippines

Sheila Coronel
Executive Director, Philippine Centre for Investigative Journalism

  • The Philippines ranks among the top 10 most corrupt countries (1996 TI poll)
  • The public suffers from corruption: inadequate public services; breakdown of law & order; expensive goods & services
  • Government efforts are not sufficient & anti-corruption bodies lack teeth & are often subject to pressure
  • Government seldom takes action unless there is media and public attention

Investigative Reporting Techniques

  • In-depth, long-term research & reporting
  • Documentary research & the use of public & private records
  • Extensive interviewing
  • Crime-solving techniques (e.g. undercover reporting)

Investigative reporting makes an impact by ….

  • Reversing policy
  • Causing the resignation/firing of erring officials
  • Focusing attention previously neglected issues & areas
  • Enriching public debate

Most often, investigative reporting involves investigating wrongdoing by individuals or institutions.

  • Who is responsible for the wrongdoing?
  • How was it done?
  • What are the consequences?
  • What can be done about it?

Robbed: An investigation of corruption in Philippine education

  • Payoffs eat up 20 to 65% of textbook funds. Because of corruption, textbook: pupil ratio is only 1:6.
  • Under-deliveries range from 30 to 60% of the total contract. The ratio of school desks is 1 for every 5 pupils
  • Overpricing of education supplies reaches as much as 1000%

Benefits of Investigative Reporting:

  • Investigative reporting helps raise the standards of journalism by forcing journalists to hone research and reporting skills.
  • Investigative reporting helps sell newspapers and news programmes.
  • Investigative reporting widens the scope of journalistic freedom and opens new avenues of access to information.
  • Investigative reporting enhances the capacity of the media to play a watchdog role.
  • Investigative reporting makes people angry. Outrage makes change possible.
  • The current crisis creates fresh opportunities for investigative reporting.
  • Traditional media audiences are demanding more.
  • New audiences are being created by democratization & crisis.
  • There is a global constituency for more transparency & information access.

Building an environment conducive to investigative reporting by...

  • Supporting the publication or airing of investigative reports.
  • Conducting seminars to sharpen skills and widen perspectives.
  • Producing books & manuals on investigative reporting

Building a conducive environment by...

  • Making officials and institutions accustomed to an inquisitive press.
  • Creating an audience for investigative reports.

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