The Need for Investigative Journalism in the Face of Corruption

A recent article written by Ian Burrell in the UK takes a look at the high levels of corruption that have evolved in Britain and states that due to so many incidents in corruption appearing across almost every line of business, government and society, the need for investigative journalism is more direly needed than ever before.

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Once a well-respected centre for business, banking and integrity, the London business district has now been described by the New York Times as “crude and mercenary” implying that it embraces a pirate culture and, in light of its recent stance on the imposition of sanctions against Russia, an appetite for dirty Russian money.

Mr. Burrell makes reference to the shady and unprofessional handling of events such as the handling of the case investigating the Stephen Lawrence murder. It reveals an underbelly of corruption with the institution and the evidence that many well respected officers are closely linked to known and habitual criminals. There is also, he states, a definitive lack of accountability by police officers at the Yard, a tragic scenario for a international known security agency that was once regarded as a leader in the work of policing.

He makes mention of the numerous incidents of scandal in the financial industry and in the area of foreign exchange, defiling the reputations of such revered institutions such as Barclays and the Royal Bank of Scotland, characterizing them with a sense of greed and financial mismanagement. He references betting corruption, government scandals and even the public opinion of the media as being corrupt vultures.

While everywhere in the world, scandals and corruption are occurring, Britain has long enjoyed a reputation of trustworthiness which is now deteriorating on a global scale with the Corruption Perception Index showing a marked drop in its standings to 17th place on the scale from its previous position of 11th.

His point is that the need for investigative journalism by the media has reached an apex at a time when the respect, perception and development of the trade are at its very lowest. News budgets are being cropped not only in the UK but globally and the media is perceived as aggressive, corrupt, sensationalistic and, frequently, erroneous. Without the media acting as the thankless, tireless watchdogs that society had trusted in the not so distant past, the wheels of corruption are pretty much free to turn at any speed they see fit.

Journalists complain that with the dawn of electronic monitoring by public security and communications agencies run by police and governments and the unprotected threat of whistleblowing, they are no longer able to protect their sources. Burrell urges the media, citizens and organizations committed to transparency to find a way of working more closely with each other and halting the tide of public corruption before it all but silences the sources that were once the most integral method of exposing wrong doing of those in power. A future where corruption abounds and the conspiracy of hiding it prevails casts the shade of a very dark world.

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