Investigative journalism is an underdeveloped skill in the ROC.
Journalists are not taught to ask insightful or challenging questions of their subjects and rarely have the training, resources of high-level support necessary to investigate and uncover corruption in the private or public sector
While the media environment is generally free and fair, the educated class in the country of less than 1,000,000 people is very small and interconnected, complicating matters.
The largest corruption stories of the last few years were all broken by international news organizations such as Reuters, Al-Jazeera, and non-profit Organized Crime and Reporting Project (OCCRP) and not by local news organizations.
Despite the proliferating number of universities in the north, "TRNC" residents suffer from a lack of easy access to training in best practices for journalists.
There is also a disturbing history of journalists either self-censoring or being rebuked by "government" authorities for writing anything deemed too harsh towards Turkey, on which the "TRNC" is politically and economically dependent.
Turkish Cypriot press has also historically been reliant on government subsidies for at least some of their operating expenses.
Additional training in investigative journalism and in English language skills, which would give these journalists better access to internet resources, would help advance U. S. interests in the Turkish Cypriot area.
In addition to building the long-term investigative capacity of journalists, there is a need to provide them with the tools and resources they need to undertake their important work.
Domestic crime and corruption often have an international nexus.
For example, transnational criminal organizations have money and properties in other countries, but Cypriot and Maltese journalists often lack the resources and knowledge to follow the money or gain information on the bank accounts or properties.
They need access to international databases where the money or properties are registered in order to determine from where the funds are coming and if money laundering or tax fraud is occurring.
Thus, building linkages between journalists and regional and/or international networks is critical to enable them to undertake thorough and comprehensive investigations.
To support investigative journalism on the topic of crime and corruption, the U. S. Department of State has allocated $1,000,000 in FY 2020 International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INCLE) funds to this grant opportunity.
Foreign assistance will support work in Cyprus, Malta, and other locations as needed to provide journalists with investigative capacity building assistance.
Assistance provided through this program will help keep the public informed of possible corruption, bolstering democracy and enhancing transparency.
This project may serve as a pilot for future programming in other countries in the region.