Title Deals, The Global Investigative Journalism Conference and Awards
The Deep Dive 44th Edition
Land conflicts in Kenya are very complex, multilayered, and highly politicized. The land problem is attributed to colonial legacy and pre-independence distributive land policies. The discord has continued to persist in Kenya, largely because of its social, political and economic policies, of which land governance plays a central role.
Today, we have genuine land owners who have been rendered homeless by well-networked land cartels, potential homeowners have been scammed by unscrupulous land buyers while land leases have become the new land grabber’s frontier. Sadly, fake title deeds, double titling, illegal evictions and goons for hire have been normalized.
Africa Uncensored's new Investigative documentary Title deals by Sam Munia and Joy Kirigia, dives into Kenya’s land disputes as a public watchdog to uncover and empower the public with the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth in the land conflicts and expose the rot in the land governance system that may have been concealed.
Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz calls investigative reporting “part of the enforcement mechanism” that societies need by providing “checks against abuses that otherwise would occur. Investigative journalism is absolutely essential.”
Catch the premier of the first episode of #TitleDeals; Lies and Leaseholds at 8PM
Joy Kirigia on producing #TitleDeals
When we embarked on #TitleDeals documentary, our initial plan was to focus on a single story. However, as we delved into the project, several victims across Kenya continued to emerge with harrowing tales of land grabbing. This compelled us to expand our scope into a comprehensive investigative series.
Over the past 6 months, we have engaged with a diverse range of Kenyan citizens, all of whom have endured distressing ordeals concerning illegal and forceful acquisition of their land by unapologetic land grabbers.Throughout our interviews, a recurring question emerged: 'When the justice system appears ineffective, should we take matters into our own hands?' This question weighs heavily on my mind. Witnessing their shared pain, frustration, and despair in the face of systemic challenges, I’m reminded of Thomas Jefferson's words: 'When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty.' Are we, as a nation, headed down this path?
Our hope is that this series will bring attention to this issue, initiate an honest conversation, and ultimately lead to positive change in the society.
The Global Investigative Journalism Conference, by Thomas Mukhwana
The Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) has once again brought together the world’s finest investigative journalists for the annual Global Investigative Journalism Conference #GIJC23. This year’s edition, hosted in the Swedish city of Gothenburg in September 2023 , brought together 2000 attendees from 130 countries. All congregating in pursuit of one goal, to build and spread cutting edge investigative reporting skills to expose corruption and inequality globally.
The Global Investigative Journalism Conference is the world’s largest international gathering of investigative reporters and editors, and GIJC23 was its 13th iteration. “On the 20th anniversary of GIJN, it seems timely and appropriate to be back in Europe where the first global conferences took place,” noted Brant Houston, chair of the GIJN Board of Directors.
One of the speakers at the event, Kenya’s investigative journalist and Africa Uncensored CEO, John-Allan Namu participated as a panelist on a discussion about investigating elections. Africa Uncensored has investigated two pivotal elections in 2017 & 2022, producing in-depth documentaries on election stealing, election funding and electoral violence. Last year’s KURA series explored various tools of voter manipulation and the deep rooted patriarchy influencing Kenyan politics.
Finally, award-winning freelance investigative journalist Naipanoi Lepapa had an opportunity to speak at the event. Naipanoi’s award-winning piece exposing Kenya’s illegal surrogacy industry was published by Africa Uncensored and The Elephant in 2021. She was part of a panel that shared tips on how to survive in the tough world of freelance journalism.
With 14 major elections yet to be held globally in 2023, the role of investigative journalism in democracy has never been more crucial. Most importantly, in the present age of artificial intelligence, unexposed illicit financial flows and sophisticated disinformation.
Previous Global Investigative Journalism Conferences have been held in nine countries, including Brazil, Denmark, Germany, Norway, South Africa, and Ukraine. The gatherings are held every two years and typically attract over 1,500 journalists from more than 120 countries.
Follow the updates here on social media!
Pressed Freedom Documentary Lifts Africa Uncensored to a Global Recognition, writes Cynthia Gichiri
Africa Uncensored has been nominated for the International Media Organization of the Year by the Societies of Editors fighting for Media Freedom, through its recently produced documentary PRESSED FREEDOM that analyses the state of media in Kenya. The awards sets the benchmark for a celebration of public interest Journalism and shed a light on the crucial role that the media industry plays in promoting media freedom, championing the public's rights to know and holding power to account. "Once again, the judges have been amazed by the exceptional standards of journalism that have been put forward for this years award" Dawn Alford, Executive Director of the Society of Editors and co-chair of Judges.
On behalf of the team that worked on the story, Pressed Freedom, I am delighted and at the same time humbled that our entry was shortlisted at the Media Freedom Awards 2023; whose ceremony will be held on November 8th in London, UK. Sharing the same platform with world’s notable organizations such as CNN Africa, Bellingcat, Investigate Europe and Bloomberg News in the International News Media Organization of the Year is an honour; and a sign that the work we do here is important and of high quality. Much gratitude goes to my colleagues Sam Munia, Steve Biko and Kevin Mbugua for their efforts in producing the story and the entire Africa Uncensored team for their support and commitment towards individual and corporate success.
In the meantime, the PRESSED FREEDOM film, an in-depth story that dives into the challenges that face the media in Kenya, has also been selected for a annual journalism conference screening dubbed "A Call to Action: Advancing Safety in Environmental Journalism for a Better Future,". It will be screened at the Ninth Annual Conference on the Safety of Journalists which will be held at Oslo Metropolitan University on November 1st and 2nd 2023 in Oslo, Norway. The conference will include a range of speakers and seminars, as well as the screening of documentary and experimental films relevant to the safety of journalists around the world.
Here is the link to the Pressed Freedom piece.
Tracy Bonareri nominated for a Continental Journalism Award
Africa Uncensored journalist Tracy Bonareri has been nominated for the Africa Safety Award for Excellence (AfriSAFE) in the Journalist of the Year category. This is an annual award project that seeks to raise awareness in areas of Health, Safety, Security, and Environment (HSSE), while also celebrating and showcasing the efforts and achievements of organizations, individuals and groups that go above and beyond to maintain a safe and healthy workplace for the benefit of mankind and the environment.
‘'Together, Clint Obere, Elijah Kanyi, Ashley Ojak, Kevin Mbugua, and I brought this story to life. We do not take this continental nomination for granted. I’d also like to appreciate the Media Council of Kenya for the grant and our story characters for letting us tell their stories to the world because without them, all this would not have been possible. We are because you are!’
Have you watched the story?
Decades after the first HIV case was diagnosed in Kenya and with all the publicly available information people living with HIV still face stigma. Various entities have come together to create programs to cushion people living with HIV on matters of HIV prevention, treatment, and care. However, most of them are tailored for women and adolescents, but what about the men? Stigma HIVed? Focuses on the stigma two men living with HIV experienced and how they overcame it and are now working towards supporting others. Watch the story here..