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Dhaka     Tuesday   23 July 2024

Importance of Investigative Journalism

Mohammad Moksedur Rahman Wali || risingbd.com

Published: 18:00, 13 May 2024   Update: 18:02, 13 May 2024
Importance of Investigative Journalism

The principal aim of investigative journalism is to uncover the truths and make them public. An investigative reporter works for months, even for years to investigate and research any specific issue deeply in order to make an investigative report that is of public interest. Whenever or wherever corruptions, conflicts and administrative irregularities are rampant, the necessity of investigative reporting is then a reality. 

The necessity of investigative journalism is enormous in terms of uncovering the objective information.  There is no alternative to investigative reporting when the question is to unmask a profound mystery related to a story by searching in-depth information and publishing a report based on that. It is the common practice of all including government, corporate companies, agencies and even individual people to hide some decisions where hurting the interests of others are related. If any person or agency wants to hide such information and any journalist presents it to the public as a report after a long investigation with an inquisitive mind, this can be regarded as investigative journalism. 

It is the common tendency of the people to know the up-to-the-minute information about their social structure, social system and surrounding life-reality. To know and to get information is equivalent to the fundamental right of people. Every person has the right to know all the decisions and information that may have effects on their lives. On the other hand, the ruling people want to keep such information secret as they may have a mixed fear about the mixed reaction from the people. In this scenario, the journalists start a relentless effort to search for news with their inquisitive minds aiming to uncover the real truth. In this way, the necessity of reports based on investigation becomes apparent to satisfy the hunger of people to know. 

Abusing power, be it political or financial, has become a common tendency for the people. In most of the cases, it is the powerful persons who are involved in illegal activities including theft, killing, looting and hooliganism. Against this backdrop, removing all forms of irregularities, corruptions and arbitrariness with the ultimate goals of establishing transparency in governance is possible only if investigative journalism is on the right track. Such type of journalism is also essential to reduce the cases of human rights abuse and to hold the state responsible for different types of power abuse.
 
On the other hand, one of the main duties of the journalism professionals is to report to the public about the various sides of power abuse of powerful people for the public interests. Besides this, the journalists create mass awareness among the society by reporting on the corruption in the activities of different offices. It is also the duty of the journalists to report on whether the politicians work according to their election manifestos made while on election campaigns. All these present the immense necessities of investigative journalism. 

Overall, the journalists have lots of scope to make investigative reports if they keep a keen eye on their surroundings. For example, you can see the recent coronavirus issue. The main cause of spreading the virus in our country was negligence and favoritism of some immoral personnel of the airport who released expatriates taking bribes. This kind of news has come in the media very little. Here, there was scope to make investigative reports on how they passed the airport without coronavirus screening. Moreover, a boy from Narayanganj or Gazipur, the first corona red spot of the country, went to Barguna by riding a bicycle.  The media cannot make an investigative report talking with the man about how he could come out of Dhaka and pass a long path avoiding a lot of checkpoints of the law enforcement team (Siddiqui, A, 2020). 

Besides, in normal times, the journalists have a lot of fields to investigate reports like-the governments have many beneficiaries  and  social  security programs/schemes  for  the  poor, vulnerable,  disabled  and  other  people  of  the  society.  There  are  various  irregularities  in implementing these schemes. Though, a few reports to come in the media to mention. The land issue is another big area for investigative journalism. There are many Khas land and landless people.  But, there are  irregularities  in  allocating  the  Khas land and…  If the  journalists  bring investigative reports on these issues  regularly, good governance will be established ensuring transparency  and accountability  of  the  public  administration. In  this  regard,  a  democratic environment or atmosphere is needed urgently.

It’s more than that - it’s critical. All societies have issues to be investigated. Politicians are one of the least likely people when it comes to doing the right things and no other service can stalk them as they need to be. Big companies also won’t stop for social concerns as the rewarding model of virtually all of them is to make as much money as possible, even if it implies doing very bad things, including crime. A great share of our current problems is due to the fact that the media - much for its own fault - lost the upper hand in the social debate and has far less power to demand answers from the establishment. This debate is not accessory - it’s what makes societies functional. Journalists (or any other people) need to be given conditions to check if the powerful are abiding to the law and society's rules. When this ability decreases, society is weaker.

It’s more than that - it’s critical. All societies have issues to be investigated. Politicians are one of the least likely people when it comes to doing the right things and no other service can stalk them as they need to be. Big companies also won’t stop for social concerns as the rewarding model of virtually all of them is to make as much money as possible, even if it implies doing very bad things, including crime. A great share of our current problems is due to the fact that the media - much for its own fault - lost the upper hand in the social debate and has far less power to demand answers from the establishment. This debate is not accessory - it’s what makes societies functional. Journalists (or any other people) need to be given conditions to check if the powerful are abiding to the law and society's rules. When this ability decreases, society is weaker.

The author is a journalist and writer. (Also familiar as Chayon Rahman).

 

Hasan/Mukul