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ARIJ: Watchdog Journalism

The Power to Account

“Against the odds, investigative journalism persists in the Middle East,” beams a headline in the Columbia Journalism Review, the leading publication for media industry professionals and academics. And one organization of watchdogs—Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism—is largely responsible.

ARIJ Executive Director Rana Sabbagh, a key figure in the Amman-based organization’s history, says, “We won’t remain silent bystanders. We will brace for the worst and keep pushing for media freedom, rule of law, transparency, justice and human dignity.”

At a conference of academics, students and media professionals in Beirut, Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post investigative reporter Dana Priest said she admires the courage of Arab journalists. Her own reporting on the United States Central Intelligence Agency and the U.S. military has carried significant risks. But once her stories are published, she no longer feels concerned for her safety, she said. “For Arab journalists, the danger never ends.”

Investigative journalism—reporting facts about important matters that governments, individuals or organizations would rather keep secret—is risky business, particularly in Arab countries, where many journalists not only face government repression and the harassment of intelligence agencies, but also become targets of extremist groups, noted Sheila Coronel, Ph.D., dean of Academic Affairs at the Columbia School of Journalism in New York and author of a 2016 Columbia Journalism Reviewarticle assessing the state of investigative journalism in the Middle East. Coronel credits Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism, known as “ARIJ” (areej), for the growth of investigative journalism in the region… more


 
 
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