Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?



Technical expertise

In many investigations a journalist will not be able to produce convincing proof on their own because of the technical nature of the issue. In this case you will have no option but to turn to an expert. If you are investigating, for example, the forging of official documents, diplomas or signatures, then you will have to seek the help of a technical expert who can help you analyses and compare them in order to work out whether they have been forged or not.
Technical expertise is also useful when working out property pricing or identifying ill-gotten wealth or financial corruption. In this case you might want to take an assessor recognized by the courts or by government bodies to the property and ask them to write an expert report. You should then get another two independent experts to do the same thing and compare the results, so as to ensure that they are neutral and independent. Expert assistants can also be of use in working out whether infrastructure or buildings meet technical specifications – the thickness and height of walls, for example, or the external shape of a building. You should always choose the best experts – the ones used by the courts or other official bodies – and make sure that they are credible. When they finish their work, they should write a full report on what they have seen and, if possible, sign and stamp it.
A report of this kind can serve as proof in court. If the investigation is going to be broadcast on TV, you should also interview the expert on camera. Al Jazeera’s Extrajudicial Execution report showed that nine prominent Muslim Brotherhood leaders who died in a flat in 6 October City (Cairo, Egypt) – who the Interior Ministry claimed had been shot during a firefight with the security forces – had actually been executed. The investigation found that there had been no such firefight, and that the nine victims had been shot deliberately at point blank range after being taken into custody.
Proving that no firefight had taken place and that the men had been killed deliberately required forensic expertise. Victims’ entry and exit wounds were examined, allowing experts to establish the range at which they had been shot as well as other details: if an entry wound was on the dead man’s back, for example, then that meant that he could not have been attacking the security forces – who were supposedly firing up from the ground at a flat on a higher floor.
The team behind the investigation thus made use of a group of independent forensic pathologists including Tasneem Koroud, head of forensic pathology at Istanbul University, the Iraqi pathologist Abdul Nasser Kilani, and the security expert Mazen Al Samarrai. These experts were able to totally disprove the security forces’ story using scientific and technical evidence, demonstrating that one of the victims was leaning against a door facing away from his assailants (rather than facing towards them and resting the gun on the door as he would have been if he was attacking). Just as with lab analysis, technical expertise alone does not produce an investigation. It is part of the process of proof, and must be supported with context, background, source testimony, and, if possible, documentary evidence.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Your Donation to M28 Investigates is a Direct Contribution To our Research. With Your Support, We will continue to publish groundbreaking investigations and uncover wrongdoing in the sub saharan africa


Stay Updated! Subscribe to our newsletter and be the first to receive our latest content and updates.

You May Also Like

The Rwanda Classified Project

By Cécile Andrzejewski May 28, 2024 Samuel Baker Byansi (M28 Investigates) and Christina Schmidt (Die Zeit) contributed to this article.


EXPOSED: THE RTDA EXTORTION AND BRIBERY SYNDICATE IN AFDB-FUNDED ROAD PROJECT A 51.54km road project in Northern Rwanda may have improved the lives of...


Decades of oil drilling in West Kordofan province was linked to water contamination, environmental changes and health effects for citizens. The oil story in...

The Rwanda Classified Project

By Karine Pfenniger May 28, 2024 With Kristof Clerix (Knack)