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Investigative journalism further damaged by COVID-19

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MDM LogoA report release in November by the European research project, Media for Democracy Monitor, says the COVID-19 pandemic has severely disrupted investigative journalism.

The Media for Democracy Monitor (MDM), a research project that monitors to what extent the media are fulfilling their democratic role, released the report by Media for Democracy Monitor 2020.

The group says the financial crisis caused by the pandemic has prevented journalists worldwide from fulfilling their watchdog function, but this is mainly just an acceleration of an already active erosion of journalism.

Countries that the report singled out as examples of retaining a commitment to investigative reporting are Sweden, Denmark, the UK and Australia, but with newsroom downsizing culminating in the lack of dedicated investigative teams and newsroom journalists being too time-poor to fulfil this function, the role of investigators is seemingly having to be taken up by press agencies and specialised external investigative groups.

“The existence of investigative reporting is proportional to the financial strength that characterizes the media organizations at the national level,” the report states.

Where economic survival of the media outlets is being set as a first priority or an urgent need, journalistic investigation is currently at a low ebb and vice versa.”

You can download a PDF of the report here, but be aware this site has no encryption and most web browsers will warn users not to visit the site.