Against this background, investigative journalism is that much more important – and some of the reporting – scarcely mentioned or kept right to the end of bulletins and then negated by someone’s comment it has to be said, by the BBC – is so significant now, laying bare the lies and obfuscation that passes for political debate. Robert Fisk – a highly respected journalist – reported on the alleged Syrian chemical attacks recently and cast doubt on the BBC’s reports, and there was no mention of them on the BBC. Carole Cadwalladr’s reports on the scandal over interference and downright illegality in the referendum campaign are also ignored as much as possible – with the denial of one of the alleged perpetrators being given more prominence than the allegation. (It was difficult to understand from the way the BBC reported this what had been alleged and how it had been politically motivated as Arron Banks, one of the funders of the alleged breaches of electoral practice, claimed.) Nevertheless, sterling work is being carried on by journalists – who are courageous it has to be said. The death of Daphne Caruana Galizia in Malta, who had apparently uncovered fraud and worse, is a salutary reminder of this.
Against that background, I commissioned a book – and there are many other books on this subject that are worthwhile – about the current state of investigative journalism in the UK and globally. Edited and contributed to by John Mair and Richard Lance Keeble,I hope it is a valuable contribution to the debate – and also a guide to new ways of working that are making investigative journalism in some ways much easier, but at the same time, that much more difficult. Certainly the whole concept of investigative journalism is under threat from very powerful forces so anything we can do to strengthen it has to be good.