ARIJ has played a key role in bringing about legislative amendments
© Credit to Palinopsiafilms
ARIJ has played a key role in bringing about legislative amendments
International Media Support (IMS)
Last updated: December 13, 2015

8 groundbreaking stories from Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism

Banner Icon Watchdog of the Arab world, Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism (ARIJ), this year marks its 10th anniversary. Through its investigations, the group has played a key role in bringing about legislative amendments and prosecution of wrongdoers.
The 8th annual forum for Arab investigative journalists was held in Jordan from 4-6 December, with over 30 panels and trainings on personal safety of reporters in conflict zones, off-shore money fraud, advanced writing skills and verification of user generated content.

Organizer ARIJ this year celebrates its 10th anniversary with more than 350 investigations on the track record.

“Every story we have produced has led to some change. Sometimes it was on the spot and sometimes it took time,” says Executive Director of ARIJ, Rana Sabbagh. “It shows journalists as well as readers and officials that serious journalism makes authorities think twice.”

Eight groundbreaking ARIJ stories that led to significant change: 

  • An award-winning cooperation between BBC and Al Balad Radio in Jordan uncovered horrendous physical abuse of disabled at care centres in Jordan. The investigation led to the closing of care centres, the prosecution of staff and the establishment of a government investigative commission.
     
  • The Ministry of Health in Tunis tightened its system of monitoring hygiene at a local hospital after an ARIJ investigation showed how resistant germs were spreading at hospitals. To avoid having to pay compensation, doctors withheld this information from patients who caught the germs while staying at these hospitals, violating their basic rights.
     
  • With a hidden camera, female Tunisian investigative journalist Hanene Zbiss went undercover for three months to reveal how unregulated Qur’anic kindergartens were advocating a very conservative form of religious education for children, using different means of brainwashing. Her story received huge public attention and the Tunisian government closed down around 100 of these kindergartens after the publication of the investigation.
     
  • An ARIJ-story from Jordan revealed how rapists would escape punishment by marrying their victims. With the law on their side, rapists tended to stay married to these girls who would often be with child, for about a month. The government in Jordan is now working on removing this law as a result of the ARIJ investigation.
     
  • A close friend of the former Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak was investigated by ARIJ on corruption and hiding of assets, and the articles and research were later used by the prosecutors in court to get the man convicted.
     
  • ARIJ-trained journalists succeeded in revealing massive corruption in the port of Beirut through a series of investigative documentaries. The investigations led to criminal charges and change of management in the port, and were carried in one of Lebanon’s most popular TV channels, Al Jadeed TV.
     
  • Two Syrian journalists from ARIJ reported on networks that take over the real estate ownership of thousands of Syrians who have fled the country through forged documents. As a result of the investigation, the Ministry of Justice in Syria started archiving 10 million house deeds and land titles.
     
  • An investigation by Dlovan Barwari, a member of the Network for Iraqi reporters for Investigative Journalism (NIRIJ) in collaboration with ARIJ uncovered the brutal practice of genital mutilation of girls as young as five in Kurdistan. The investigation led to the parliament adopting legislation criminalising genital mutilation and the reporter was awarded the International Lorenzo Natali Price for Journalism.
This article is published as part of an editorial partnership with International Media Support (IMS)
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