Top-notch investigative journalism, and discussion on the reporter’s craft, from our colleagues around the world:

Investigative showcase: Out of Africa
The Forum of African Investigative Reporters (FAIR) has launched a dossier of resources from its 2008 Pan-African investigative summit. The dossier collates documents, case studies and lectures showcasing the best investigative reporting from Africa. Read fascinating stories from reporters on the ground. Topics include environmental reporting across borders, “How to topple a government,” and the benefits and ethical questions involved in working undercover. You can download the dossier in PDF form here.

FAIR also highlights an investigation from South Africa, published in the Mail & Guardian. Supported with links to documents, the investigation shows a former prison boss was treated to flights and luxury hotels by facilities management group Bosasa.

Highway to corruption in Philippines
The Philippines Center for Investigative Journalism reports massive corruption in the World Bank-funded National Road Improvement and Management Project (NRIMP-1). The Department of Institutional Integrity (INT), the World Bank’s anti-corruption unit, concluded that a cartel of contractors and bureaucrats had corrupted NRIMP-1 with the support of the highest levels of Philippine government. The INT said $30-45 million of the $150 million loan was at risk or lost in bribes and kickbacks. Witnesses alleged that media and non-government groups were bribed, as well. The INT’s investigation eventually implicated 16 individuals and 17 companies after 60 witness interviews and hundreds of documents.

Baby steps for democracy in Balkans
One year from its declaration of independence, Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN)’s BalkanInsight.com news service has put together a special collection of news and analysis on Kosovo. The first anniversary of independence was celebrated in the streets, but still half the population lives near or below the poverty line. Amid the public celebrations, journalist Krenar Gashi blogged “How come that since independence, my colleagues have been receiving more and more threats and facing more and more direct censorship?”

While 90 percent of Kosovans are Albanian, the Serb minority still rejects the secession and looks to Serbia as its administrative capital. There are still some countries who don’t recognize the secession and Balkan Insight reports Serbia, with Russia as its ally, continues to block Kosovo’s entry to the United Nations, and lingering ethnic tensions have done little to secure investor confidence. Balkan Insight’s package includes a telling piece on Kosovo’s school history books—where nationalism and hate speech are being toned down but “‘objectivity’ remains a matter of perception”.

News was a “casualty of war” in Gaza
Reporters Without Borders (Reporters Sans Frontieres, or RSF) has released a report on the media situation in the Gaza Strip. The report says the “news was another casualty of this war” in Gaza. RSF criticized both the Israeli authorities and Hamas for press freedom violations, asserting that throughout the world in times of war control of the news has become a military objective. According to RSF, six journalists have been killed during the conflict, and 15 wounded. RSF argues that closing the Gaza Strip to the press constitutes a serious violation of press freedom. They called for an end to the targeting of media facilities and for media equipment (cameras, tapes, editing equipment, generators)—currently in short supply—to be sent to the Gaza Strip.