While chronicling the history of investigative journalism in the world, The Guardian UK notes that W.T Stead is considered as the father of the journalism practice. According to the paper, Stead became popular in 1885 after his famous investigation into the trafficking of young girls, which landed him in jail. According to a number of sources, the investigation led to the formulation of a law that established the age of consent within the context of migration.
In Nigeria, history remains cloudy regarding who could be regarded as the founding father of the journalism practice. However, some sources suggest the like of late Dele Giwa as one of the founding fathers of the journalism type. After his demise, a number of journalists have followed and still following his path. Recently, we have seen how journalists in the private establishments have reported corruption, social injustices among others.
Despite this, indices point towards a significant reduction in the number of investigations by journalists. This has largely been linked to organisational and political factors. Majority of the independent media outlets lack personnel who can conduct investigations. Beyond this, lack of funding is crippling the journalism practice. With the decline in income through advertising, these outlets cannot fund investigative journalism.
In spite of these challenges, some organisations are producing investigative news to the public. Fisayo Soyombo remains the country’s top-notch investigative journalist. He has conducted investigations that revealed socioeconomic injustices against the less privilege. He has also called out a number of public and private establishments on social networking sites, calling their attention to issues and needs that affected their stakeholders.
Is Foundation for Investigative Journalism Entrenching Call-Out as a New Journalism Model in Nigeria?
“Two things we want to do with the foundation: Help people have access to social justice, and also, engage in investigative reports that speak for the voiceless and expose injustice,” Fisayo Soyombo said in a recent interview. With this foundation, Soyombo and his team intends to offer value to the voiceless people in Nigeria.
“Only one expectation — that we are able to genuinely reduce suffering of people who don’t deserve to suffer. Once we are able to count just a few people whom we have helped get access to social justice, we are fulfilled. At the end of the day, it may be just a drop in the ocean. We will rather take that than nothing.”
There is no doubt Fisayo Soyombo and his team will revive investigative journalism practice in Nigeria with call-out strategy, creating a new model for practicing the journalism type. The intent of constantly giving voice to the voiceless towards getting justice is an approach that would ensure effective socioeconomic justices restoration and the entrenchment of humanistic values expected from participatory democracy.