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Local journos helped bring Panama Papers to light

The Namibia Media Trust this week commended the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists for coordinating the global investigation that culminated in the release of the so-called Panama Papers, the 40-year chronicle of one law firms role in helping the rich and the powerful to hide their assets.
The 11.5 million documents were obtained by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists who then worked with journalists from 107 media organisations in 76 countries to filter the tsunami of information.
The BBC reported earlier in the week that the 2.3 terrabyte of leaked data contains the details of 214,000 entities, including companies, trusts and foundations. The information in the documents dates from 1977 to December last year. Emails make up the bulk of the documentation but there are also images of contracts and passports.
An estimated 400 journalists from over 100 news agencies undertook the investigation into the massive leak of financial and legal records. The 12-month long investigation culminated in what is probably the largest collaborative journalistic investigation in history, and has taken the social media world by storm and caused shockwaves around the world.
A series of extensive reports reveal the hidden financial dealings of politicians, fraudsters, drug traffickers, billionaires, celebrities, sports stars and more.
In the words of the Consortium “ICIJ’s data and research unit indexed, organized and analyzed the 2.6 terabyte of data that make up the leak, using collaborative platforms to communicate and share documents with journalists working in 25 languages in nearly 80 countries” in this mega investigation.
Namibia Media Trust Chairperson, Gwen Lister, a founder member of the ICIJ in 1997 and a member of the Advisory Committee said The Namibian newspaper and several of its journalists are part of the investigation. She said this is a “great example of professional cross border, collaborative, multi-platformed investigative journalism that holds power to account” and illustrates the increasing need for good journalism that exposes corruption and makes a difference in the world.

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