Transnational investigative journalism

The panel will show how cross-border investigations done by international teams of journalists can expose corruption and crime. Three examples have been chosen.

The first, The Proxy Platform, presented by Miranda Patrucic, is a web-published inquiry done by the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), which shows that, while governments and citizens of Eastern Europe were struggling with the recent financial crisis and trying to borrow money from international financial institutions, billions of euros circulated in the region in an illegal, parallel system that enriched organized crime figures and corrupt politicians. OCCRP investigated this large-scale criminal enterprise all over Eastern Europe and across the world and painstakingly combed through thousands of financial transactions, company and court records from all over the world in order to put the pieces of the puzzle together.

The second, In The Name of the State, by the Slovenian journalists Blaz Zgaga and Matej Šurc, is a book trilogy which investigates and exposes arms trafficking during the Yugoslav war. The authors, thanks to the Slovenian freedom of information act, obtained thousands of declassified documents, and thanks to cooperation with journalists in several countries, discovered that the Yugoslav war was not carried out by a little armed group, but co-ordinated by European countries, some of which were actively involved in supplying arms and ammunition to the warring parties. More than a dozen of ships loaded with contraband arms secretly arrived to the Slovenian port of Koper in 1991 and 1992, where they were unloaded and cargo was quickly forwarded to battlefields in Croatia and Bosnia Herzegovina. Military and civil intelligence services appear to have been involved in the clandestine operations, alongside the Italian, Albanian and Russian Mafia. Blaz Zgaga has received death threats for his work, but he is not backing down.

The third inquiry, Toxic Europe, is a documentary movie produced by the FLARE Network, Novaya Gazeta, Associazione Ilaria Alpi, Associazione di Giornalismo Investigativo and Daily Blog, which won the “Best International Organised Crime Report” Award 2011. The three authors, Cecilia Anesi, Giulio Rubino and Delphine Reuter, investigate waste trafficking within Europe. Starting from the traffickers who make waste “disappear” at low cost, and who can be mainly identified with the Italian-based Camorra, Ndrangheta and Cosa Nostra, Toxic Europe exposes the brokers and the companies who take part in the waste trafficking phenomenon. The investigation reconstructs the structure of the network between Italy, Luxembourg and Romania, showing the cross-border connections between companies and the Italian control over Romania’s waste.