Dishonest Sourcing of Information by Investigative Journalists
There are discordant descriptions and definitions of investigative journalism presented by distinct scholars. Notwithstanding, most the scholars are in agreement that investigative journalism goes beyond the confines of press conferences, the standard coverage of events and incidents, and press statements. The objective of investigative journalism is to discover hidden malpractice, information, and misbehavior that result in adverse outcomes for the society. According to Horrie, investigative journalism is a generic form whereby newspapers and journalists instigate an anecdote on the premise of a suspicion of wrongdoing and reporting in a manner that is contrary to the routine and passive news broadcasting (Horrie, 2008). Kovach and Rosenstiel add that investigative journalism does not just report on a subject but makes a point of highlighting the problem, vice or wrongdoing in the matter (Kovach & Rosenstiel, 2007).. .. Dishonest Sourcing of Information by Investigative Journalists
To shed more light on the matter of investigative journalism, particular examples of investigative journalism evince the direction taken by journalists who engage in investigative work. For instance, the Watergate scandal investigation published by the Washington Post is one of the classical examples of official public investigations that emanated from investigative journalism. While the Watergate scandal is a case that dates back in history, recent cases have been the scandal of British members of parliament inflating their allowances in 2009. The Telegraph undertook this investigation, and the outcome was the jailing of three members of parliament whose expense claims revealed manipulations. The more recent cases have been the leaking of information by wiki leaks and other websites or podcasts such as the Panama papers.
Due to the nature of investigative journalism to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable as reported by Spark, journalists are often in conflict with the rich, the powerful and the corrupt in the society whose motive is to conceal the information regarding their illegal gains and wrongdoings (Spark, 2012). This makes the act of retrieving information relevant and necessary to the investigation extremely difficult. Based on this understanding, on special occasions where those in power suppress the ability to obtain information valuable to the investigation, journalists are forced to resort to questionable tactics to acquire the information. Some the questionable tactics include deceit, purchasing information from whistle-blowers, hiding their identity and invading the privacy of people so as to expose corruption, vices or wrongdoing in the society. An example of such a case is when investigative journalists posed as sports agents and managers to investigate cases of doping among various athletes. According to the statements of some athletes, the information obtained by the journalists was inadmissible as they claimed to have been deceived by the journalists and “led” to situations that were convenient to the investigation undertaken by the journalists. It is such cases that necessitate the need to explore the ethics of investigative journalism especially on the subject of obtaining information through dishonest means………….Dishonest Sourcing of Information by Investigative Journalists