Monrovia — An investigation on Cemenco, one of Liberia’s leading cement manufacturing has made it to the list of the Global Investigative Journalism Network GIJN.
GIJN is an international hub for the world’s investigative reporters, named the “Under the Cloud of Mud”, among the top 10 best investigative stories from the continent.
The ten stories that made the list were selected from eight countries–Liberia, Cameroon, Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria, Rwanda, Liberia and Uganda.
“This collection of 10 investigative stories across eight countries in Africa is a demonstration of what’s possible when reporters on the continent receive the right leadership and support,” the GIJN wrote.
The investigation unveiled how residents living in proximity of the manufacturer exposed fumes and dust particles.
As a result, residents either relocate to safeguard themselves and their families or suffer uncontrollable health- effects.
The story also revealed how the cement manufacturer reneged on promises to mitigate the impact of its operations and undertake socially beneficial initiatives for four communities adjacent to its plants.
The GIJN described as “remarkable” the level of investigative journalism that emerged from sub-Saharan Africa in 2021 particularly at a time newsrooms in Africa were increasingly struggling with shortages of cash and threats to press freedom.
“For many of the eye-catching stories that made it to this year’s editor’s pick, the reporting time ranged from three months to a full year. This points to a growing ability by journalists in Africa to dedicate ample time — and, indeed, resources — to a single story,” it said.
But there is more to it.
“Several factors account for this strong dedication to in-depth reporting. First, nonprofit media outlets are helping fill the vacuum created by cash and resource-strapped traditional media organizations. Foundations and development agencies are also offering more consistent and more generous reporting grants, with greater opportunities for long-form investigations, even for freelance journalists,” GIJN explained.
The Stage Media Liberia (TSM) began operating in 2020 as a non-profit, independent investigative journalism project.
The project came to light from three reporters (Trokon S. Wrepue, Hannah N. Geterminah and Bettie Kemah Johnson-Mbayo) with the aim to respond to critical, analytical and independent Journalism in Liberia.
TSM was established to Fact-Check, Investigate, report Data-Driven stories in the Public Interest and hold the powerful accountable.