Understand the importance of investigative journalism
In a democratic society like ours, journalists play a significant role by presenting a day to day report on the progress of the country in the hands of our elected representatives and their appointed executives. As in a democratic system, people have the right to know; reporters help them by bringing the truth to the voters and taxpayers. Investigative journalism is the most robust and most vital part of such reporting as investigative journalism looks into the dark section of the society. An investigating reporter often finds his life threatened or faces all sorts of social harassment as he tends to expose the misdeeds of the powerful and wealthy.
Exposing the big
Exposing the significant wrongdoers has both positive and negative results. As the bigwigs of the society deal with millions of lives, a reporter who takes the pain and patience to expose the wrongdoing of such a person saves a lot of persons from being devastated. Not only that, but revealing the misdeeds of an elite person also saves the public money worth crores of rupees. An investigative journalist works like a fuse in an electrical circuit. He takes the risk of harming himself or his near and dear ones while trying to save millions for the greater interest of the society.
Investigative journalism, in its real sense, is not just mudslinging or tarnishing one’s image. It is quite different from paparazzi or yellow journalism, as some call them. It is a systematic investigation and reporting into a social misdeed or scam. In every stage of this investigation, proof of the news served has to be available with the reporter who is covering the scandal. Otherwise, the media in which he intends to publish his work will not comply. This is for the apparent reason that when some heavyweight of the society is exposed, he or she tends to challenge such a report by a lawsuit, and as everyone knows that one must come up with proof in a court of law.
Informing the voters, taxpayers and ordinary people
In a democratic system, where the people vote a party or a group of parties to power for a certain period, they will be quite in the dark as to how the government is functioning. Also, to fund different projects of the government, people regularly pay various taxes, and the government runs only on the tax money collected. So, these voters and taxpayers have every right to know how the government is functioning. But people at the helm of power often tend to hide their misdeeds and those of their near ones. As they are in power, they have every opportunity to cover up such misdeeds. It is only an investigative reporter who can expose such misdeeds and inform the people of the same.
Bureaucrats and government officials get their jobs by proving their excellence. But they are only paid servants of the people. Some of them eventually cannot digest these facts. They do tend to form a tie with politicians and business houses to enhance their income by indulging in some or other sort of malpractice. Sometimes politicians, at the helm of power, compel them to indulge in such corrupt activities which they comply to save their jobs. Whatever the case may be, it needs a thorough investigation and reporting of a bold newsperson to expose such corruption.
Not only do we speak of politicians. Corrupt business people often tend to indulge in many malpractices to enhance their profit. Most common of them are hiding their income and, as such, the actual tax to pay. Breaking the law to enhance profit is also common malpractice.
We often hear of the politician business house nexus. The flaw of parliamentary democracy is that one needs money to win a seat in parliament or assembly. And the party or group gaining majority rules the roost. Here the corrupt business houses come into play — the fund the candidates of a particular political party or maybe some of them. In return, when they win the election and come to power, these crooked business houses insist upon them to make the law flexible so that they only gain like monopolists out of the competition. This is a deep-rooted white-collar crime, which needs only a diligent and meticulous journalist to investigate and expose such nexus. Often they have to face dire consequences of such exposure. Only courageous reporters can take up such jobs.
Religious leaders often command a great amount of reverence and esteem from common god-fearing people. This sometimes gives them a license to exploit women and children and weaker sections of the society in the name of religion. It is only reporters, who through investigative reporting, can expose their misdeeds to the people of the society.
Exposing international blunders
Nations do commit blunders. The bigger and more powerful the nation is, the bigger is their blunders. These international blunders, most of the time, lead to war. War, one should feel, is one of the cruelest crimes committed against humanity. War makes millions of people lose their lives, jobs, and livelihood. It makes millions homeless, lose their near and dear ones. Therefore, the common men, who suffer the most due to this war, have every right to be informed of the real reason behind such international blunder. And here only can the investigative journalist play an important role. They only can find out the real reason behind such war and expose the persons who have caused this massive damage.
So, we can conclude by saying that reporting, especially investigative reporting is essential for the smooth functioning of the society, especially in the interest of the ordinary people who form the major part of the human culture. To weed out the society free of the white-collared parasites like Politicians, Administrators, Businessmen, and some so-called religious leaders, we need these whistle-blowers, as these journalists are often fondly referred to. They work as eye openers who open our eyes to the malpractices of society and as detergents to wash off the dirt that accumulates on our civilization.
Author: Frank Taylor