08. April 2020

Equipping Malawi’s investigative journalists to report on corruption and anti-corruption efforts

Malawi Continuing Journalism Education

Journalist Bertram Hill of the BBC Africa Eye Investigative Team joined media consultant Ladan Cher in March 2020 to lead an intensive open-source intelligence workshop for 13 of Malawi’s leading investigative journalists.

During the four-day workshop, the participants explored the many possibilities of open-source intelligence gathering, including:

  • Archiving and advanced search techniques
  • Online monitoring
  • Digital security
  • Geolocation and mapping resources
  • Advanced people search

The workshop was part of the Basel Institute’s Continuing Journalism Education (CJE) initiative in Malawi. Supported by the Tackling Serious and Organised Corruption programme of the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), the CJE aims to help Malawi’s media practitioners develop and publish stories on corruption and anti-corruption activities.

The goals: to amplify public messages on corruption, help the media to present a clear and candid account of corrupt activities, and drive positive change.

The initiative, led by two journalist mentors, targets a small cadre of experienced investigative journalists in Malawi, as well as media houses and journalist support organisations.

Highlights in the past year include conducting 10 story labs in Lilongwe and Blantyre, where the cohort of journalists pitch and develop their stories; and three topical workshops including the above BBC-led workshop, a Fact-Checking Workshop led by Africa Check and a Story Pitch and Build Workshop led by the J-School at Wits University in Johannesburg.

A journalist was set to undertake a three-month fellowship with the Mail and Guardian in South Africa, although this has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Forty stories have been published by CJE journalists over the past year, including the stories that broke the judicial bribery scandal, on a ministry involved in a land-swap scandal, and the story of police uniforms and boots being sold on the open market.

The CJE programme has seen interest and support from media houses, newsrooms and journalist support organisations all over the world, including the Media Institute of Southern Africa in Lilongwe, the Raphael Tenthani Centre for Media Excellence at the Polytechnic College of the University of Malawi in Blantyre, the AmaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism, the Mail & Guardian of South Africa, Wits Journalism of Witwatersrand University, The Telegraph in the UK, the Washington Post, and Malawian newspapers The Times, Nyasa Times and The Nation.