Why is investigative journalism important

Investigative Journalism: Tracking the Truth

Journalists are not only intended to provide people with news from all over the world, there is also one coming to them nationally important task to. Therefore, they are not infrequently called fourth power in the state designated.

Investigative journalism in particular fulfills this important task and should in a democracy politic and economy so to say "monitor". Intensive research should Grievances or embezzlement uncovered become.

So-called also play in this context Whistleblower as Informants an important role. How exactly does investigative journalism work? Which Tricks objects Investigative journalist in the Research at?

Is there by lawLimits to investigative journalism or does the end justify the means in this case? The following guide gets to the bottom of all these questions. You will find out how in Germany investigative journalism is operated and why the name Günther Wallraff at Axel Springer still today indignation triggers.

FAQ: Investigative Journalism

What is investigative journalism?

It is a form of journalism that exposes grievances. You can find a detailed definition here.

What is the purpose of investigative journalism?

Investigative journalism is supposed to expose social and, above all, political grievances.

Are there also investigative journalists in Germany?

When it comes to investigative journalism in Germany, the name Günther Wallraff is often mentioned. You can read what Wallraff uncovered here.

What is investigative journalism? A definition

A general, comprehensive definition of investigative journalism is difficult because it can be practiced in many forms. The designation Investigative journalism becomes derived from Latin (investigare = to track down, to examine precisely).

So it is a form of representation, which is a enormous research work requires, which not infrequently lasts for several months. aim is the job of journalists as a fourth and thus surveillance violence in the state meet.

Therefore, investigative journalism takes on the task of Control of state organs and economic groups. In a democracy, this is essential in order to be able to uncover possible grievances or fraud.

The journalists question the politicians and the greats of the economy and can therefore not infrequently uncover illegal activities or crimes. The Investigative Journalism is some form of investigative work of media makers.

It is also about Scandal stories about celebrities to uncover. So this form of investigative work is more likely assigned to the tabloid press.

Investigative journalism sets a extensive and time-consuming research ahead. It is not uncommon for journalists to go in danger, especially when scandals involving high-ranking people such as politicians are to be exposed.

Woodward and Bernstein pave the way

His first high phase experienced the investigative journalism in the US in the 1970s. To this day the so-called Watergate affair as inspiration for many journalists to work in the investigative field. What happened?

The Watergate affair turns out to be a Series of events related to the abuse of office by former American President Richard Nixon which ultimately led to the only impeachment of a president in American history to date.

On the night of June 17, 1972 were five burglars arrested who tried Eavesdropping bugs in the headquarters of the Democratic Party to install. The burglars also tried to take photos of documents that were important for the election campaign.

The Reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein the Washington Post suspected here an action directed by the White Houseto weaken the opposing party in the election campaign. As part of their research into the Watergate break-in, the journalists received important inside information on the status of the FBI's investigation.

Through the consistent reporting was the the general public became aware of the political conspiracy, including the White House. On August 9, 1974, Nixon finally had to resign as president.

Bernstein and Woodward were with the 1973 Watergate Affair for their coverage of the Watergate Affair Pulitzer Prize excellent and are still considered to this day great role modelsthrough which investigative journalism gained in importance.

The informant, who provided Woodward and Bernstein with the latest investigation results, was under the Pseudonym "Deep Throat" quoted. In the year 2005 became knownthat the informant is Mark Felt acted. This was until June 1973 deputy director of the FBI and in this capacity was familiar with the results of the Watergate investigation.

What is investigative journalism for?

As is already clear from the derivation of the name, investigative journalism is used to precisely examine processes and thus possible ones Uncover inconsistencies. As the Watergate affair shows, this can often be the case serious social and political consequences entail.

However, this makes investigative journalism one of the most important functions of journalism in general. The Exposure of abuse of power, corruption and breach of duty by powerful public and private institutions namely cannot always be operated by the police or the public prosecutor's office.

Journalists can also access the Protection of informants To fall back on. As in the case of Mark Felt in the USA, it must also be in Germany no journalist cite his sources and can from one Right to refuse to testify Make use.

If an informant is involved in any corrupt processes, he does not run the risk of being arrested when passing on the information. The Protection of informants is a important prerequisite for freedom of the press.

Investigative journalism serves as a important control element in a democracy. The focus is on exposing abuse of power, corruption and breach of duty by powerful public and private institutions.

Is investigative journalism compatible with press law?

Basically, in the Press law no points find who practicing Prohibit investigative journalism would. However, there is Research limitsthat must not be exceeded.

According to the Press Code Journalists always to be recognized as such. However, there is also Exceptions, in the Section 4 Directive 4.1 are defined:

Journalists generally identify themselves. Untrue information provided by the investigating journalist about his identity and which body he represents are fundamentally incompatible with the reputation and function of the press.

Covert research is justified in individual cases if it is used to obtain information of particular public interest that is not otherwise accessible.

So it must, when investigative journalism is practiced, must be weighed carefully, if one covert research in this case permissible is.

Consortium of investigative journalists

The International network of investigative journalists (English International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, abbreviated ICIJ) is one nonprofit organization, which was founded in the USA. It has set itself the task of exposing abuse of power, corruption and breach of duty by powerful public and private institutions.

It is an investigative network Journalists from 70 different countries. There are currently more than 200 journalists members. The ICIJ evaluates amongst other things Millions of documents About tax havens and letterbox companies as well as secret financial transactions of well-known personalities in tax havens out. This also includes the acquaintances Panama and Paradise Papers.

Investigative journalists in Germany

Investigative journalism in Germany is closely linked to one name: Günther Wallraff. The journalist and writer, who was born in Burscheid on October 1, 1942, is primarily known for his "BILD trilogy" and the book "At the bottom" known.

For the last one Wallraff disguised himself as a Turkish guest worker and worked at various companies. In doing so, he made the experience that the tone was sometimes rough and that the occupational safety regulations were not always observed.

He complained about the way Turkish guest workers were treated. The book was over in Germany sold five million times and is considered a prime example of how investigative journalism was practiced in Germany.

Even with the BILD newspaper worked for Wallraff under a false name and worked for three months in a BILD editorial office in Hanover. He then published a number of books on this subject, which uncovered major grievances at BILD.

As a result of the publication it came to Litigation between the two parties. Wallraff then had to adapt some passages from the books in which he literally quoted the content of editorial conferences.

By the way: Wallraff has been seen regularly on the private broadcaster RTL since 2012. He and a team have been investigative in several reports and have, among other things, checked the working conditions at Burger King or at motorway service stations through covert research.
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Investigative Journalism: Tracking the Truth
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