The Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) is an independent, nonprofit media agency that specializes in investigative reporting. It was founded in 1989 by nine Filipino journalists who realized, from their years on the beat and at the news desk, the need for newspapers and broadcast agencies to go beyond day-to-day reportage.
While the Philippine press is undoubtedly the liveliest and freest in Asia, deadline pressures, extreme competition and budgetary constraints make it difficult for many journalists to delve into the causes and broader meanings of news events.
The Center believes that the media play a crucial role in scrutinizing and strengthening democratic institutions. The media could — and should — be a catalyst for social debate and consensus that would redound to the promotion of public welfare. To do so, the media must provide citizens with the bases for arriving at informed opinions and decisions.
The Center was set up to contribute to this end by promoting investigative reporting on current issues in Philippine society and on matters of large public interest. It does not intend to replace the work of individual newspapers or radio and television stations, but merely seeks to encourage the development of investigative journalism and to create a culture for it within the Philippine press.
The Center funds investigative projects for both the print and broadcast media. It puts out books on current issues and publishes i, an online investigative reporting magazine, on its official web site, www.pcij.org. The Center also publishes www.pcij.org/blog, a daily institutional news blog, and www.i-site.ph, a database and resource tool on Philippine politics and governance. In addition, the Center organizes training seminars, and offers the services of its journalism trainers, for news organizations in the Philippines and Southeast Asia. It likewise conducts seminars and studies on issues involving the media and access to information.
In the 18 years since its founding, PCIJ has produced about 400 investigative reports and other stories in major Philippine newspapers and magazines, produced five full-length documentaries, and launched over two dozen books and video documentaries. The PCIJ has won major awards, including nine National Book Awards, a Catholic Mass Media Award, and more than two dozen awards and citations from the Jaime V. Ongpin Awards for Investigative Journalism.
PCIJ stories make an impact. Well-researched and well-documented, these reports have contributed to a deeper understanding of raging issues, from politics to the environment, from health and business to women and the military. Some of these reports have prodded government action on issues like corruption, public accountability and environmental protection. Still some other reports have triggered the transfer or resignation of senior public officials and justices, and formed part of the evidence in the impeachment, and eventual trial for plunder, of a Philippine president.