Keeping an eye on government corruption

by Rex Merrifield
Tuesday, 24 December 2013 14:08 GMT

Participants on the 'Governance Reporting' journalism training course in London, 9th - 13th December 2013.

Image Caption and Rights Information

* Any views expressed in this opinion piece are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Journalists took to the money trail to corruption in the mythical land of Manchukistan in a recent Thomson Reuters Foundation training course.

Journalists took to the money trail to uncover nepotism, corruption and poor political governance in the mythical land of Manchukistan in a recent Thomson Reuters Foundation training course. Suspects fled, or took even more drasic measures, as reporters and investigators tightened the net in the 'Governance Reporting' course which took place in London from 9th - 13th December 2013. 

Text, TV and radio reporters from as far afield as Trinidad, Grenada and Brazil, via Liberia and Zimbabwe to Myanmar, Bhutan and East Timor came together to tackle practical exercises concerning political and corporate problems that can arise in countries exploiting natural resources.

Participants came from a wide variety of backgrounds, but were able to share many of the difficulties they face in trying to expose wrongdoing or being a voice for people who have experienced different circles of corruption.

They covered topics like honing interview skills and where to look for potential stories in state budgets and company reports, as well as the importance of careful sourcing, legal dangers and defamation. Social media, whose global reach was obvious in the training newsroom throughout the week, also presented much food for thought.

Budget constraints in many newsrooms limit how much time reporters are able to spend on investigations and exploring topics like tax avoidance. But participants said the trainers, Keith Stafford and Rex Merrifield, had helped to give insight and encouragement to this kind of reporting, as well as helping to undo some bad habits that can come with years out in the field.

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.