Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism (ARIJ) is the first and leading media organization in the region dedicated to promoting investigative journalism in Arab newsrooms, still a new practice.
The Amman-based ARIJ was formed in early 2005 to support independent quality professional journalism, through funding in-depth journalism projects, and offering training and media coaching. ARIJ helps journalists working in print, radio, TV and on-line media in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq, Bahrain, Palestine, Yemen and Tunisia.
The mission of ARIJ is to enhance excellence in investigative journalism, which is essential in a free society and remains key to ensure transparency, accountability and a diversity of views and opinions based on documented facts, research and multi-sources. We accomplish this by:
– Providing training, resources and a community of support to investigative journalists.
– Promoting high professional standards.
– Providing training on data encryption to protect journalists’ sources and files.
– Ensuring the future of ARIJ as a partner for several national investigative journalism chapters.
– Introducing new platforms for research and publication.
ARIJ is the brainchild of several leading Arab journalists, editors, media activists and professionals who came together with a like-minded group of Danes driven by commitment to professional in-depth reporting for the benefit of local communities. They held several meetings in Copenhagen, Damascus, Beirut and Amman before the program was set up with funds from the Danish Parliament, disbursed through the Copenhagen-based International Media Support (IMS). The Danish Association for Investigative Journalism (FUJ) provided technical support. Over the years, more donors joined, including Open Society Foundations, UNESCO, the Washington-based International Center for Journalism (ICFJ), The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), the Norwegian Foreign Ministry, and Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands/Amman. As of October 2011, SIDA became a key core donor of a three-year program. A new 2014-2017 strategy is under review by ARIJ’s main donors, with important contributions from new supporters like CFI/France and the Royal Norwegian Embassy/Amman.
The regional office operates in partnership with journalists, editors, and publishers in mostly independent-media in the nine Arab states. A joint ARIJ-ICFJ program, begun in 2010, set up five investigative journalism units at media in Jordan, Palestine and Egypt. Thirteen more units were established during 2012-13 in most countries of ARIJ operation to ensure sustained professional media development. ARIJ also works with individual journalists and freelancers.
ARIJ provides training on both the basics of investigative journalism in line with the ARIJ Manual “Story-Based Inquiry” and the application of Computer-Assisted Reporting (CAR) tools — the survival kit for today’s modern multi-media tasked journalists. ARIJ is using a separate multi-media training manual developed by independent film producer Tony Stark to train journalists on how to turn print stories into compelling video investigations. In the next three years, ARIJ will focus on developing specific skills among ARIJ-trained journalists who have produced at least three investigations over the last nine years including advanced writing, “accountability” interviewing skills, how to investigate closed political groups, extractives, oil contracts, environmental pollution, gender and human rights, advanced TV production and data encryption.
A new area of activity is developing a MENA regional database and research desk to support “follow the money and corruption” investigations with a grant from CFI/Ebticar Media and with technical support from the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) as part of its international network of “investigative dashboards.”
As a result of interest from journalism and media faculty, ARIJ has also commissioned an expanded version of its IJ training manual, “Story-based Inquiry,” to develop a 3-credit hour university IJ course complete with lecture notes, practical assignments, readings, links to relevant ARIJ investigations for each class session and valuable annexes of open sources and notes on the legal environment for IJ in Arab countries. The curriculum is being “test driven” by four Arab universities (in English and Arabic) and the final versions will be widely available by end of 2015.
We continue to support journalists and editors to conceive an idea, research, write, edit and publish or broadcast professional investigative journalism reports. The final results of the investigative projects are published by participants’ respective media organizations, and posted on the website of ARIJ along with relevant documents and the diaries of both the reporter and the coach to help share the knowledge with other Arab journalists and media students.
Journalists normally initiate ideas for issues they would like to investigate, write up a proposal outlining the story, what he/she expects to prove, how this will be done, the sources of the proof, a time framework, a draft budget, previous writing samples, and a letter of commitment from their editor or publisher, to consider publishing or broadcasting the final product.
On-line application forms can be found on our website (click here) . Please fill out the form and submit on-line, or send it by email to the address: firstname.lastname@example.org or fax it to: +962 6 4640406.
The selected candidates will get a formal letter authorizing the start of the project, along with an invitation to attend a media training workshop on investigative journalism.
Local coaches, working with ARIJ, will oversee the investigative project, from A to Z, working with every journalist to facilitate the investigation, and to help resolve any challenge that might delay or obstruct the investigation. ARIJ-appointed lawyers will offer pre-publication counseling.
If the journalist is unable to publish his/her investigation after completion due to unforeseen circumstances, ARIJ will use close ties with regional media to ensure the investigation sees the light.
ARIJ will cover the following expenses:
– Freelancer when a staff reporter has to work on an investigation.
– Internal travel, hotels, research materials, lab analysis, etc. as required/approved
– Access to national and international databases
– Translation of the final print investigation from Arabic to English
– Pre-publication/broadcast legal screening
– Legal support if legal action is taken against a journalist or investigation supported by ARIJ. In addition, we will help publish your investigations in other outlets or countries, and ensure they are carried by websites of international investigative reporting networks, including SCOOP, a regional support structure and network for investigative journalism in central and Eastern Europe.
ARIJ encourages repeat investigations from committed Arab journalists and welcomes applications from them. We also offer the opportunity to become coaches or trainers, as we expand and strengthen the IJ network in our region.