'Africa Investigates' is a groundbreaking new series that puts flesh on Al Jazeera's ambition to give voice to the voiceless.
In a world-first, this hard-hitting project gives some of Africa's best journalists the opportunity to pursue high-level investigative targets across the continent - using their unique perspective and local knowledge to put corruption, exploitation and abuse under the spotlight.
The series of eight one hour episodes starts on Wednesday 2 November 2011 on Al Jazeera English.
"All too often in the past, African reporters have not been able to pursue wrongdoing because it involves powerful figures who wield undue influence over local media - financial, corporate or political - or because it is simply too dangerous," says series producer Diarmuid Jeffreys. "Investigative journalism is a perilous profession in many African nations, where intimidation, beatings, imprisonment and death threats can be an occupational hazard. As a result they have often had to sit idly-by while Africa's story has been told by Western correspondents, 'parachuted in' for the purpose, who reinforce stereotypical views about African peoples and their supposed inability to face up to and solve their own problems."
Now, determined to tell their own story, the reporters in Africa Investigates will correct that impression. Working undercover and using hidden cameras, often at great personal risk of discovery, they'll expose elaborate frauds and criminal conspiracies, child trafficking, abuse of minorities and high-level, official corruption.
In the process they'll make African institutions, businesses and politicians more accountable and susceptible to pressure to change things for the better.
'What Price the Story?'
Starting 2 November 2011
The series opens with a film about the difficulties of operating as an investigative reporter in Africa, in which we meet some of the journalists who will feature in the series and hear about the dangers they face on a daily basis. We hear first-hand how one investigative journalist has had to remain anonymous, move weekly and never walk alone; and how another was imprisoned and tortured. Throughout, the journalists' commitment to giving voice to the voiceless and improving their contexts shines through.
Starting 9 November 2011
Gold is back. With global investments delivering little returns, the eyes of many investors have returned to the old favourite. But the new gold rush has come with a big rise in scams and confidence tricks, many of which take place in Africa. These now represent a major threat for companies and individuals. Ghana is the second largest producer of gold on the continent and is now home to a large network of gold fraudsters. Investors have lost millions at their hands. In this investigation, Anas Aremayaw Anas goes undercover to lift the lid on this illusory pot of gold.
'Zimbabwe's child exodus'
Starting 16 November 2011
Zimbabwean children as young as five are being abandoned and left to fend for themselves - either orphaned by disease or deserted by their parents and relatives who have left to migrate illegally to South Africa in search of a better life. Out of desperation, thousands of these children are themselves now making the long, treacherous passage across the border. To get there they must cram into haulage trucks; cross the Limpopo River; and brave dangerous gangs of vicious traffickers known as the magumagumas, who will often rob, exploit and abuse them. Reporter Stanley Kwenda follows one group of these child migrants and reveals the desperate reality behind their incredible journey.
Future episodes are embargoed due the sensitive nature of the ongoing investigations.