The West Africa Leaks have shown the massive scale of illicit financial flows, tax avoidance and evasion and corruption in African states; a menace that disproportionately affects the poor and is seen as a key factor in the development of states and economies. Regulation and investigation have achieved significant progress in curbing these issues and nonetheless, the problem is far from solved. Where state actors seem incapable or unwilling to effectively address these issues, we turn to non-state actors for help. The advance of open and big data in combination with investigative journalists may be the latest silver lining. If used correctly, open and big data can create more transparency and contribute to fighting corruption and financial crimes; and if enabled, investigative journalists will use these means to the benefit of all.
This session will feature a controversial discussion on the role of open and big data for investigative journalism. The goal is to discuss how open and big data can enable investigative journalists in fighting tax crimes, money laundering, illicit financial flows and corruption. During the session, experienced investigative journalists will provide first-hand accounts of their work and the challenges they face. The panel will explore the potential investigative journalism has for significantly curbing these menaces, and shed light on the necessary capacities and institutional preconditions needed for investigative journalisms to access and process large volumes of data. In this context, the panel will also discuss the importance of whistleblower protection and freedom of press. The discussions are aimed at journalists, civil society organizations and governments, just as much as interested citizens. The session will feature regional journalists and open data experts as well as international civil society.