Last year, an investigative report revealed that contractors close to Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych were paid for renovations that were never completed on hundreds of schools, orphanages, hospitals and elder care houses. The story, reported by Kyiv Investigative Reporting Agency, prompted the Ukrainian parliament to establish a commission to investigate the charges.
Another news agency, Svidomo, produced an investigative report about a fraudulent cancer treatment called Ukrajin. The Ukrainian government had revoked the drug’s approval a year earlier, but it was still being sold. In response to Svidomo’s reports, police blocked sale of the medication and the product was subsequently pulled from store shelves.
The journalists who uncovered these examples of abuse and corruption had taken Internews training in investigative reporting. Internews supports several Ukrainian news organizations, including Kyiv Investigative Reporting Agency and Svidomo, as well as the Center of Journalistic Investigations and IPC TV, by providing such training for their staff.
Increased access to the Internet and new media technologies have made it easier for Ukrainian journalists to undertake ambitious investigative projects. Also, a landmark 2011 Ukrainian law on access to public information has opened up a wealth of budgetary and other government data for investigative journalists to mine.
Internews’ investigative journalism program trains journalists how to take advantage of these new developments. Over the past six months, many of these reporters’ investigations have caused businesses, government authorities, and courts to address the abuses of power and other issues revealed in the stories.
Internews’ investigative journalism project in Ukraine is supported by USAID.