Premium Times, Nigeria’s investigative website, emerged the overall winner of the Global Investigative Journalism Conference (GIJN) in Johannesburg, South Africa.
A two-part story by the newspaper – ‘Inside the Massive Extrajudicial Killings in Nigeria’s South-East‘ and ’How the Onitsha Massacre of Pro-Biafra Supporters was Coordinated’ – was adjudged the best.
The award, which drew a record 211 submissions from 67 countries, was for stories published or broadcast between January 1, 2015, and December 31, 2016.
The prize honoured investigative journalism conducted in a developing or transitioning country, done under threat, duress, or in the direst of conditions.
‘Project No. 1’, a story about corruption in Iraq’s ministry of education, was also recognised. It was done by Iraq’s Beladi TV channel.
The judges also honoured two other projects with citations of excellence: ‘Making a Killing’, for the joint investigation that exposed an arms pipeline between central and eastern Europe and the Middle East and ‘Gujarat Files: Anatomy of a cover-up’, an undercover investigation revealing India’s top officials’ complicity in the 2002 Gujarat riots.
Sheila Coronel, academic affairs dean of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, who was among the judges, said the panel was impressed with the stories.
“The judges were particularly impressed with the solo investigations that were conducted with minimal resources amid real threats and intimidation,” she said.
“By honoring the extraordinary work of these journalists at risk, we pay tribute to all the good work being done in so many places where courageous journalists keep the flame of watchdog reporting alive.”
David Kaplan, executive director of the GlJN, which sponsors the awards, said the quality of entries received in the competition shows journalism is still alive.
“The competition this year was extraordinary… despite the global backlash against quality journalism, this shows that investigative reporting is alive and well around the world,” he said.