The ninth Global Investigative Journalism Conference, GIJC 2015, held in the Norwegian ski resort of Lillehammer, hosted over 850 journalists from 120 countries – a record for such an event. In the course of four days, journalists, publishers and experts presented the results of their work, conducted trainings, round tables and debates in a total of 160 events. The conference ended with the Global Shining Awards ceremony. OCCRP (Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project) won two of the three awards. Bivol is a partner of OCCRP.

Focus on Technology

Modern investigative journalism uses on a large scale new technology to search information and to process and visualize it. One of its most powerful tools is geo-localization. Tracking airplanes, ships, containers and even weapons shipments in real time is available online and makes possible and accessible investigations that a few years ago required huge resources and were very time consuming. With their joint efforts, investigative journalists from around the world create databases that archive information on companies, people and events related to their previous investigations. The massive leaks of confidential information to Wikileaks, OffshoreLeaks, SwissLeaks and LuxLeaks are another example of effective sharing of resources between journalists.

The technology giant Google, partner of the event, presented several of its future products. The Skybox project provides satellite images with high resolution in real time and allows tracking and analyzing economic activity in entire sectors. One obvious application is the detection of illegal felling – something that has already been done in a journalistic project with Google’s partnership.  Google Refine is another extremely useful tool for cleaning and sorting databases.  Journalists further learned that even the ordinary Google search engine can yield unexpectedly good hits if they are knowledgeable in using the numerous filters in their search.

Considerable time was devoted to the most advanced methods for protecting communications and information, working with confidential sources and the anonymization of documents.

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OCCRP Wins Grand Prize for Investigative Journalism

The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), of which Bivol is a partner, was among the twelve finalists, received three nominations for its investigations and won two of the three prizes awarded by the Global Shining Awards.

The team of Miranda Patrucic (OCCRP), Stevan Dojcinovic (CINS), Dejan Milovac (MANS) and Lejla Camdzic was bestowed the grand prize for their investigation Unholy Alliances in the links between organized crime, government entities and businesses in Montenegro, incriminating Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic. The award is shared with the Brazilian project Empire of Ashes of Gazeta do Povo, investigating cigarette smuggling in several Latin American countries.

The project YanukovichLeaks of a group of Ukrainian journalists, members of OCCRP, digitizes, analyzes and investigates the content of 25,000 documents seized from the residence of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich in Mezhyhirya.  Because of these documents, the investigative team was able expose Yanukovych and businessmen connected to him in corrupt schemes and theft of millions of dollars.  YanukovichLeaks received the Award for Excellence of the Global Shining Awards.

Екипът на YanukovichLeaks с наградата Excellence на GIJC 2015

Екипът на YanukovichLeaks с наградата Excellence на GIJC 2015

Bivol was represented by its Editor-in-Chief, Atanas Tchobanov. He participated in the panel presenting the international team’s investigation in the trafficking of diamonds from South Africa, organized by the Cosa Nostra. Part of that investigation included revelations of connections of a prominent Bulgarian mafia boss with agents of the former Communist Secret Services and with suspicious Omani capital in the Bulgarian Investbank.

The conference in Lillehammer was organized by the Global Investigative Journalism Network and the Norwegian Association for Critical and Investigative Press (SKUP). The next GIJC 2017 conference will be held in two years in South Africa.

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