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English
Discussion
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Panama Papers: Investigative Journalism, the „Lügenpresse“ and the age of Big Leaks

Short thesis

The Panama Papers not only shed light onto a secretive system of tax havens and hidden money, but also sparked a debate about how a leak of this size and scope should be reported on. Even before a public relations crisis broke out for politicians using the services of Mossack Fonseca, strong sentiments of scepticism and criticism emerged about the work of the ICIJ and publishing outlets. Could the treatment of the data be biased? Why was Putin featured prominently in the documents while US politicians were absent? Should the 2,7 Terabyte even be published altogether?

In the age of digital media, where every user is also broadcaster, the means of publication themselves quickly turn into a topic of hot debate. Which practical ethics should whistleblowing and journalism apply today to ensure that the public is served and informed best? How should investigative reporters react to the feedback of its readers? And how can we make sure a leak’s revelations don’t get lost along the way?

Description

From Cablegate to Snowden to the Panama Papers: The last years have seen a wide range of ways a leak can seep out. While encryption technologies for secure whistleblowing are increasingly driving investigative journalism, we are also seeing a differentiation of strategies with which media are handling and reporting on these stories. Ten years after Wikileaks was founded, many media houses have established means of receiving and handling sensitive material while organisations like Correct!v, ProPublica or the ICIJ are exploring new ways to foster and fund a renaissance in investigative reporting.

In our 30 min session, we’ll discuss the role of investigative journalism in an age of ever dwindling trust in the media, which publication strategy can work best for what sort of leak and if the future of whistleblowing is a promising one.

 

Presented by VICE.