ICFJ Knight roundup: ANCIR exposes De Beers’ undervaluing of diamonds and wins premier award

by Alyssa Mesich
Oct 30, 2018 in Investigative Journalism

Each week as part of the Knight International Media Innovators blog, the ICFJ Knight team will round up stories focused on how their fellows are making an impact in the field. Find out more about the fellows' projects by clicking here.

Airtight investigative journalism exposes alleged corruption in the diamond mining industry, Code4SA’s work inspires an international data journalism project and more from the ICFJ Knight Fellows in this week’s roundup.

ANCIR wins online financial journalism award

The African Network of Centers for Investigative Reporting (ANCIR) investigative editor Khadija Sharife was named South Africa's online financial journalist of the year by the country's financial journalism awards, the Sanlam Awards.

ANCIR, started by Knight Fellow Justin Arenstein, released an exposé on how global diamond mining company De Beers appears to have dodged taxes of up to $3 billion by under-reporting the value of diamonds it exports from South Africa. Read Sharife’s award-winning piece here.

Code for South Africa’s pioneering work inspires worldwide innovation

Fundación Ciudadana Civio led a new global data journalism investigation, Medicamentalia, letting citizens compare medicine prices across 60 countries and track counterfeit drugs. The work was inspired by Code for South Africa’s system to help ordinary citizens make sure that pharmacies are not overcharging them and help check if there are cheaper generic drugs.

Civio's investigation covers a handful of African countries, and Code For Africa, founded by Arenstein, will work to help extend the tool to other African countries.

Will exposing a politician's past change voter preferences?

Cargografías, an organization launched with support from Knight Fellow Mariano Blejman’s HacksLabs, shows the path politicians take to public office in Argentina. Politica Argentina recently featured an article on the platform and Cronica interviewed the Cargografías team about the tool as Argentines prepare to vote with a little less than a month until the national primary.


CGNet Swara brings citizen issues to ears of officials


Former Knight Fellow Shubhranshu Choudhary’s mobile news service CGNet Swara gives villagers in the Central Gondwana region of India a platform to report when the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) has not paid wages or offered villagers work opportunities. After voicing their complaints, government officials have responded by paying wages and offering new work opportunities (and payment).

Fact-checking the #Marikana report on the miner massacre in South Africa

In 2012, police killed 34 miners in the Marikana massacre. There has been major news coverage and public outrage about the discrepancies between what South Africa President Zuma said and what he released in the Marikana Report about the tragedy. Africa Check, a winner of the 2012 African News Innovation Challenge created by Arenstein, gives readers a side by side comparison of these discrepancies.

Finding out the government’s priorities through its budget

Government budgets give citizens insights to the government’s desires and priorities. Code for Ghana, a winner of the 2012 African News Innovation Challenge, created an interactive tree-map to see where Ghanaians’ taxes are allocated and which funds metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies receive.


In case you missed it


  • Media Factory, founded by Blejman, is holding media innovation bootcamps in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on July 9 and Santiago, Chile, on July 11. Register for these bootcamps and find out about upcoming events.

  • Knight Fellow Juan Manual Casanueva has been elected to the School of Data steering committee. The steering committee will work to create a governance structure for the School of Data, in partnership with Open Knowledge, to ensure long-term sustainability by a community-led approach. Read the full announcement here.

  • Africa Check’s Peter Cunliffe-Jones spoke about fact checking on two panels on June 29 at the WARM Festival 2015, which runs until July 4.

Main image CC-licensed on Flickr via Judy van der Velden.