Al Jazeera English is putting the spotlight on Africa’s journalists in “Africa Investigates.” The new series is intending on providing African journalists a megaphone from which to report their stories on corruption, abuse, and exploitation to the masses. The journalists who worked on the reports for the series worked undercover, using hidden cameras, and, of course, put themselves at risk in order to reveal the truth behind frauds, conspiracies, abuse of minorities, child trafficking, and high-level corruption. The series will consist of eight one hour episodes and begins Wednesday, November 2 on Al Jazeera English.
Series producer Diarmuid Jeffreys said that investigative journalism in Africa is often stuffed down because of the political figures who can suppress reports. “All too often in the past, African reporters have not been able to pursue wrongdoing because it involves powerful figures who wield undue influence over local media – financial, corporate or political – or because it is simply too dangerous,” Jeffreys said. “Investigative journalism is a perilous profession in many African nations, where intimidation, beatings, imprisonment and death threats can be an occupational hazard. As a result they have often had to sit idly-by while Africa’s story has been told by Western correspondents, ‘parachuted in’ for the purpose, who reinforce stereotypical views about African peoples and their supposed inability to face up to and solve their own problems.”
Here’s the official rundown on the episodes:
“What Price the Story?
Starting 2 November 2011
The series opens with a film about the difficulties of operating as an investigative reporter in Africa, in which we meet some of the journalists who will feature in the series and hear about the dangers they face on a daily basis. We hear first-hand how one investigative journalist has had to remain anonymous, move weekly and never walk alone; and how another was imprisoned and tortured. Throughout, the journalists’ commitment to giving voice to the voiceless and improving their contexts shines through.
Starting 9 November 2011
Gold is back. With global investments delivering little returns, the eyes of many investors have returned to the old favourite. But the new gold rush has come with a big rise in scams and confidence tricks, many of which take place in Africa. These now represent a major threat for companies and individuals. Ghana is the second largest producer of gold on the continent and is now home to a large network of gold fraudsters. Investors have lost millions at their hands. In this investigation, Anas Aremayaw Anas goes undercover to lift the lid on this illusory pot of gold.
Zimbabwe’s child exodus
Starting 16 November 2011
Zimbabwean children as young as five are being abandoned and left to fend for themselves – either orphaned by disease or deserted by their parents and relatives who have left to migrate illegally to South Africa in search of a better life. Out of desperation, thousands of these children are themselves now making the long, treacherous passage across the border. To get there they must cram into haulage trucks; cross the Limpopo River; and brave dangerous gangs of vicious traffickers known as the magumagumas, who will often rob, exploit and abuse them. Reporter Stanley Kwenda follows one group of these child migrants and reveals the desperate reality behind their incredible journey.
Future episodes are embargoed due the sensitive nature of the ongoing investigations.”
Al Jazeera English became available for the firsttime to cable television viewers across New York on Time Warner Cable in August of this year, and Al Jazeera English is shown in America on Buckeye Cable (Toledo), Burlington Cable (Burlington), GlobeCast World TV, Link TV (Direct TV, Channel – 375/Dish Network, Channel – 9410), Washington Cable (Washington DC), Full Channel (Channel – 168), Time Warner Cable (New York, Channel – 92), Rise (New York), MHz (Washington DC) and Free Speech TV.
You can watch the promos for the series below the post. Also, you can watch Al Jazeera English online at english.aljazeera.net/watch_now/.