How the Financial Times uncovered the world’s biggest financial fraud since Enron, Hungarian news publisher was surveilled with Pegasus, and Jimmy Lai’s Hong Kong media group files for liquidation

The International Journalism Festival weekly round-up. Stay up to date by subscribing to our newsletter, by following our Telegram channel, or by joining us on Facebook and Twitter.

Wirecard: how the FT proved the pen is mightier than a €24bn criminal gang. For financial reporter McCrum and his colleagues, reporting on Wirecard was unlike any other story they had covered. At worst, business reporters can expect to deal with prickly PRs or threatening lawyers, but taking on Wirecard was akin to going to war with a criminal gang.

Hungarian opposition publisher was surveilled with Pegasus in spring 2021. Previous reporting showed that Pegasus was used against Hungarian targets in 2018 and 2019. Now there is evidence that Zoltán Páva, a former politician who is a news publisher now, was under surveillance in March and May this year.

Jimmy Lai’s Hong Kong media group files for liquidation. Apple Daily publisher Next Digital hopes move will allow payments to be made to creditors and former staff.

Overcoming indifference: what attitudes towards news tell us about building trust. In this report, part of a larger RISJ project focused on trust, we use original survey data from four countries – Brazil, India, the UK, and the US – to develop a more detailed understanding of how different segments of the public hold varying degrees of trust in news. We do so in order to help those interested in building trust in news better understand the people they are trying to reach.

European publishers are making paid podcasts work. Examples from France, Germany, UK, Sweden and Poland. European publishers are exploring different paid audio strategies – from paid podcasts to paid audio versions of their articles.

NGOs condemn trial in Austria of ‘Ibizagate’ whistleblower. Prosecution of Julian Hessenthaler will deter whistleblowing and risks infringing press freedoms.

High-profile Western media outlets repeatedly infiltrated by pro-Kremlin trolls. A major influence operation is systematically manipulating Western media to spread propaganda and disinformation that supports Kremlin interests, a report from Cardiff University concludes.  Researchers from the Crime and Security Research Institute have found evidence that 32 prominent media outlets across 16 countries have been targeted via their reader comments sections.

Facebook plans to show users even less political news. This is just the latest in a series of algorithm changes aimed at de-emphasizing not just political news but professional news sources in general.

Afghanistan: journalist leader Fahim Dashti killed in Taliban attack in Panjshir Valley. Fahim Dashti, a veteran leader of the Afghanistan National Journalist Union, was killed in Panjshir province on 5 September during a clash between the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan and the Taliban.

Investment, growth, integration: Ringier’s strategy in Eastern Europe. In 2010 Ringier and Axel Springer formed a joint venture, combining ownership in their East European assets. For over a decade the Swiss-German holding was one of the region’s biggest players, especially in tabloids, magazines, and digital marketplaces. That era ended in July this year, when Ringier took over Axel Springer’s shares in Hungary, Serbia, Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania (Poland was excluded from the deal). While Axel Springer has been buying up properties in the US, becoming a global player in the process, Ringier is consolidating in Eastern Europe

Why Russian journalists are being branded ‘foreign agents’ — and why it matters. The last few months have been the most difficult for independent Russian journalists since the Soviet era. Here’s how the Putin regime is using ‘foreign agent’ designations to squeeze the life out of critical outlets that hold it to account.

Australia: media outlets lose High Court appeal over Facebook defamation ruling. The Australian High Court has ruled that media outlets are legally responsible as “publishers” for third parties’ comments on their Facebook pages, in a decision with implications for all social media users.

Photo credit: by Adeolu Eletu on Unsplash