Liberty launches investigative journalism unit

Posted on 16 Apr 2020

  • Editorially independent unit launched by human rights organisation
  • Unit will uncover injustice and hold the powerful to account
  • Launch to focus on the coronavirus crisis and the impact on human rights

Liberty, the human rights organisation, has today (Thursday 16 April 2020) launched its investigative journalism unit – Liberty Investigates.

The editorially independent unit was set up in autumn 2019 as part of Liberty’s wider mission to inspire and empower people to defend their rights, and the rights of their family, friends and communities.

Its aim is to use journalism to uncover injustice and to hold the powerful to account.

While the focus of the unit is investigative journalism and is not a breaking-news unit, the coronavirus crisis has forced a refocus for the launch.

Over the coming weeks the unit’s three journalists will be looking at how human rights in the UK are being affected by the pandemic.

For the launch the unit will issue reports covering the Coronavirus Act, a feature on how disabled people are affected, investigations into how the virus is affecting prison populations and a look into the situation at immigration detention centres.

Further investigations include a deep-dive into the impact the virus is having on the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities.

Liberty’s Director Martha Spurrier decided to launch the unit after seeing the impact a changing media landscape was having on investigative journalism.

She said: “Throughout its history Liberty has worked with journalists to uncover stories that shine a light on the injustices in our society. Changes to the media and how news Is reported has left investigative journalism struggling to maintain its footing. It became increasingly obvious that Liberty could play a role in shoring up this form of journalism. Liberty Investigates was set up with Liberty’s mission and values at its centre, it’s committed to working in the public interest to tell the truth about rights abuses in the UK. Journalism is key to holding the powerful to account and I am proud to add more resource to this vital mechanism of our democracy.’

As well as publishing these stories on the Liberty Investigates microsite, the unit is also open to publishing partnerships with established media outlets.

Katherine Quarmby, Liberty Investigates Editor, said: “We have a simple mission – to expose injustice. We want to hold those responsible to account. We also want to amplify the voices of those affected – to carry out our reporting on their behalf, but never to see them as voiceless. Instead, we want to position ourselves alongside those affected. We also want to work with people who care about human rights violations, including Liberty members. Our journalism should provide evidence for campaigners to challenge those in power.”

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