Meet the Man Behind SwissLeaks

11 February 2015


Last week, the finance and media worlds were shaken by the SwissLeaks revelations, exposing an international system of fiscal fraud through HSBC bank. This investigative work was brought to the public by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), a network of 185 international journalists based in 67 countries. The director of ICIJ, Gerard Ryle, will be at the GEN Summit 2015, and you’ll be able to ask him all the questions you want during his session ‘What Cross-Border Collaboration Can Bring to Investigative Journalism’. Others speakers are Rachel Oldroyd, Director of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and Peter Bale, CEO of the Center for Public Integrity.

Founded in 1997, ICIJ was first a project from the Center for Public Integrity. ICIJ focuses on in-depth investigative pieces, based on collaboration between journalists. Their office in Washington DC gathers around 10 people, including Gerard Ryle and his deputy Marina Walker Guevara. There are three questions on the walls of the office: 'Is it of worldwide interest? Did protective systems fail? Do we have a chance to get some results?'* A data team is also located in Madrid lead by Mar Cabra. They all have renowned careers in investigative journalism.

The consortium fights for an idealistic view of journalism  without frontiers and based on collaboration. On a daily basis, they use a secured forum and storage platform, two crucial tools when you are dealing with such sensitive issues. For SwissLeaks, 154 journalists from 47 countries collaborated: some of them are reporters, others are analysts or data journalists.

At the beginning of the story, Le Monde brought a file to ICIJ. The file had to be cleaned, decrypted and analysed. That was only the beginning. After a lot of investigative reporting, each media—55 in total such as The Guardian, BBC, La Nacion, Le Soir, Le Monde—can decide how they want to publish the story, as long as they mentioned the collaboration with ICIJ and Le Monde, as first owner of the information.

If you think this is the future of investigative journalism, join us at the GEN Summit and meet Gerard Ryle!

*As mentioned in an article from Le Monde.

Photo: Tim Meko / Shutterstock