Updated: Jul 24, 2020
Investigative journalism is the discipline of digging deep and bringing to light verified facts about wrongdoing, or about a matter of significance, which are sought to be covered up or are otherwise inaccessible to the public.
But getting the facts right only lays the foundation for investigative work, which will not be worth very much if the reporter does not get the ‘meaning of events right.
Investigative journalism of quality and relevance is valuable in itself, in what it can do for ordinary folk and for society, typically holding up truth to power.
In other words, Investigative journalism is a type of journalism that uncovers what others don’t want to be uncovered. Investigative journalism is also called watchdog journalism. An investigative journalist digs deep into one story, whether it be corporate financial corruption, violent crime, or other topics that might not get covered in everyday news.
Rafale deal and Investigative journalism in India
Recently The Hindu newspaper published an investigative report related to Rafale deal, which was termed by the Supreme Court of India as the legitimate one. The decision on the admissibility of the documents has significance beyond the Rafale issue: it revivifies the rights of a free press and underscores the principle that it is public interest, and not the content of a document alone, that will decide whether the disclosure is needed or not in a given case.
Advantages and Disadvantages
Raising social Awareness: The journalism contributes significantly to raising social awareness of the issues involved and also stands the test of time.
Improving quality and work culture in the profession: Motivating and empowering this greatly enlarged pool of young women and men to do thorough, thoughtful, and carefully supervised investigations into subjects of social and moral significance could have dramatic effects in terms of developing capabilities, improving work culture, and raising quality in the profession.
Re-energize the field of professional journalism: Investigative Journalism plays an instrumentalist role in re-energizing and revitalizing the field of professional journalism that often seems to be tired, losing steam, and shedding value.
Finding the fact: With more digging and research investigative journalism would help to find out the real fact.
Misuse of anonymous and confidential sources: The use and misuse of anonymous and confidential sources is a global phenomenon, a minefield that has claimed many casualties and also taken a toll of the public’s trust in journalism.
May lead to anonymity public order disturbance: The credibility of a report often rests on the source of the information and readers do well to look very closely at the sources used. Sometimes, sources are anonymous which would cause a disturbance in the public order
A threat to the journalist: Journalists involving in investigative journalism may have to face problems while investigating a fact that may even lead to risk their life.