The Fund for Investigative Journalism

Supporting investigative reporting projects around the world

  • Next Deadline: Feb. 4, 2019 (11:59 pm Eastern)

  • Hidden Victims: Pakistan’s Incest Survivors

    “‘Don’t tell anybody.'” It’s a common phrase for victims of sexual abuse in Pakistan to hear from their mothers. … “[I]f a mother learns that her husband is sexually molesting her daughters, she has nowhere to turn because there is little to no state assistance for battered women in Pakistan if they chose not to live with their husbands. … Even if [incest victims] do get in front of a court, they are often are encouraged, sometimes even by the judges, to settle the matter out of court for the honor of the family, through a process dubbed as ‘compromise,’ by accepting a sum of money in exchange for silence. This compromise, [Manizeh Bano, Executive Director of a Pakistan-based NGO called Sahil] says, has been the biggest challenge her organization faces in bringing the perpetrators to  justice. After spending months working with the victim, in most cases, families ‘compromise,’ ensuring that the perpetrator is never convicted for his crime.” View the video and read the full report by Habiba Nosheen in The Atlantic. Listen to the report on PRI’s The World. Hilke Schellmann also contributed.

    Buddhists Take Up Arms in Thailand

    Reporting for Newsweek/Daily Beast, Brendan Brady finds A deadly Thai insurgency has Buddhists scrambling for guns:  “HuaHui, a long-bearded villager, exemplifies the kind of self-appointed power that the militia system offers Buddhists. At the entrance to his restaurant, he sits behind a makeshift bunker, holding an M-15 assault rifle. He keeps a cache of weapons on hand, along with special bullets designed to overcome ‘the voodoo of insurgents.'” … Even Buddhist temples have become militarized, Brady reports. “The abbot of one southern village recently asked soldiers stationed inside his temple to relocate. “’It affected our image. Buddhism is a peaceful religion, and a temple must remain a peaceful place.’” …

    “But, facing shadowy and omnipresent insurgents who are increasingly brazen in their methods, Buddhist communities may be less likely to move away from firepower. The consequences of their position, worries [Srisompob Jitpiromsri, the head of Deep South Watch], might be only that they will be forced to double down on it. ‘Die-hard is their mentality.’”

     

    Grantees Win Sigma Delta Chi Awards

    Fund for Investigative Journalism grantees have won 2011 Sigma Delta Chi awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, in two categories.

    For Investigative Reporting (non-daily publication), Rebekah L. Cowell, won an award for her “Waste Land” series in The Independent Weekly (Durham NC).  Cowell investigated how low income and minority communities get stuck with other people’s waste in the form of city dumps, landfills, waste transfer stations, and hazardous waste sites.

    For Magazine Investigative Reporting (Regional/Local Circulation), Kelly Virella, Marc Fader, Anthony Smyrski, and Jarrett Murphy won an award for their “Behind Bars” series in City Limits (New York City). The investigation found that some prison staff never face consequences such as prosecution or loss of job for sexually abusing inmates, and that some guards have even conceived children with women prisoners.

    The Fund is proud to have supported their work, and congratulates both sets of winners.

    Jason Berry Wins IRE Book Award

    Render Unto Rome: The Secret Life of Money in the Catholic Church, by Jason Berry, has won the prestigious IRE Book Award for 2011. Berry wrote the book with a grant from the Fund for Investigative Journalism. The judges of the annual awards contest sponsored by Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) praised the book with these comments: “Author Jason Berry delves deeply into a topic few have examined – the secretive finances of the Roman Catholic Church. Using voluminous background research that takes the reader back centuries, Berry uncovers abuses of the trust of church members by influential bishops who diverted funds intended for philanthropic purposes into accounts used for plugging Vatican operating deficits or defending priests accused of pedophilia. Berry details how the modern church is systematically closing churches in poorer parishes while at the same time opening churches in affluent suburbs where the weekly ‘take’ is greater. The author makes extensive use of public documents, leaked parish records, trial transcripts, interviews and a wide range of published reporting to paint a complete picture of a heretofore secret network of church financial dealings. For shining a bright light on the shenanigans and inner workings of the Catholic Church, IRE honors Jason Berry and ‘Render Unto Rome.'” Investigative Reporters and Editors is a nonprofit professional organization dedicated to training and supporting investigative journalists around the world.