This year’s edition of the African Investigative Journalism Conference (AIJC) will see over 140 speakers in over 80 sessions in Johannesburg, South Africa, at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits University). Key speakers of the programme include Ghana’s Anas Aremeyaw Anas, Mali’s David Dembélé, South Africa’s Pauli van Wyk, Namibia’s Sonja Smith, Senegal’s Hamadou Tidiane Sy, among others.
The AIJC’s 19th edition critical themes for the programme include Artificial intelligence, Health, Data Journalism, Keeping Journalists Safe and the Future and Sustainability of Investigative Reporting.
The programme has an attendance of 350 registered delegates, 147 speakers, 45% women, 54% men, and 1% non-binary from 40 countries.
The AIJC began today with Anton Harber, founder of Mali & Guardian and a South African journalism professor, revealing significant data from a survey of country representatives who identify as investigative journalists.
The survey received 583 responses from 41 different countries. Of the total survey sample, 37% were female and 62% were male. The survey revealed some critical data, which showed that 72% of the respondents were either underpaid, badly underpaid, or grossly underpaid. Also, 54% of the survey respondents were full-time employees, while 34% were freelance. Furthermore, 54% of the respondents had a degree, and 33% had a post-graduate degree.
Answers to a survey question: What training do you most need? Included Data Journalism, Using Artificial Intelligence, Using social media to investigate, fact-checking, and financial investigation.
Answers to survey question on bribery: Have you ever been offered a bribe? 54% answered No, and 41% answered Yes. For the question, Have you ever taken a bribe? 84% answered No, and 12% answered Yes.
Another crucial survey question was: What are the biggest challenges in your daily work? Answers included limited resources or financial constraints, access to information or lack of data or secrecy, security threats, male bosses or colleagues and the changing media landscape.
According to the survey, 60% of respondents reported facing safety threats last year. Some respondents provided quotes about their personal safety. A respondent from Ghana, “Threats to my life through phone calls and ransacking my house and picking my laptops and other editing tools.”
A respondent from Namibia, “Once there was a message written on the window of my house: “I will kill you.” Another respondent from Sierra Leone stated, “I have faced threats to my life from the police. BBC had to put me in a safe house for three weeks.”
Top Speaker Hamadou Tidiane Sy delivered a speech on the impact of the recent military coups in West Africa on investigative journalism under the keynote theme: Media, journalism and journalists in times of instability. Despite the entirety of his dialogue being in French, some key takeaways include him stating, “Gaza is overexposed in the media…journalists, human beings, are being killed everywhere.”
The programme will end on Wednesday, the 22nd of November and will see other vital topics and themes discussed by some of Africa’s top investigative journalists.
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