Our concept of co-funded, non-profit investigative journalism has proved itself since our launch in April 2010. Our relationship with M&G Media (publisher of the Mail & Guardian) has lent us a reputable primary publisher and baseline funding, while donor funding has enabled us to improve our investigative practice and extend our skills transfer activities and information rights advocacy.
Our staff are amaBhungane, isiZulu for the Dung Beetles.
Investigative journalism helps to promote open, accountable and just democracy by exposing wrongdoing and holding power to account. However, investigative journalism faces internal threats (resource constraints in a commercial and changing media environment) and external threats (restrictive laws, policies and practices).
Investigative journalism is an expensive, risky investment. It needs time and resources to succeed; to uncover facts beyond the apparent; to hold the powerful to account.
In a purely commercial environment, investigative journalism often struggles to compete with instantly gratifying, fast-food journalism - the kind that sells papers today but wraps fish tomorrow.
Non-profit, donor funded models represent an alternative which has already gained ground in the Americas, Europe, Asia and parts of Africa. Adequate funding without a profit motive helps to ensure that the public interest in the exposure of wrongdoing is served.
Relationship with funders
M&G Media remains our baseline funder and primary publisher. This means we have funding sustainability and a reputable outlet through which to reach and serve the public. Outside funders enhance our capacity to fulfill our mandate.
To enhance our financial sustainability but shield us from undue influence, the centre will seek donations from a multiplicity of funders over time, and generally not accept government or corporate funding or funding for specific stories.
Legal status, mandate and governance
The centre is registered in South Africa as a non-profit company. Our mandate is expressed as follows:
The Object of the Company is to promote open, accountable and just democracy, and a free press capable and worthy of performing this duty. To do so, the Company will develop investigative journalism in the public interest, inter alia by engaging in its best practice, by transferring investigative skills to other journalists, and by helping to secure the information rights investigative journalists need to do their work.
Sam Sole and Stefaans Brümmer, veteran investigative jouranalists, are the centre's joint managing partners. They answer to a board of directors consisting of:
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