Friday, 24 September 2021

A Useful Resource for Sharing with Journalists

The Global Investigative Journalism Network has produced a series of guides to help focus investigative journalism. One of the most recent is a well-written text by Donna Yates ('Investigating Antiquities Trafficking' September 20, 2021) Characterising the antiquities trade as a "Grey Market, infiltrated by organised crime", she begins:

The illicit trade in antiquities is a form of transnational crime that connects the theft at heritage sites to the elite world of the global art market, often via a web of organized crime. Because of the beauty and social significance of the remains of the ancient past, there is a strong demand for antiquities within North American, European, and Asian markets.These markets inspire the removal of cultural objects from lower income countries to former colonial powers, and the redefinition of shared heritage as a private commodity. In response, many antiquities-rich countries have criminalized the removal and marketing of antiquities so that cultural heritage can be preserved for the public good. Yet demand causes supply; high demand for newly discovered antiquities coupled with the absence of legitimate pathways for obtaining them has resulted in the development of criminal supply lines.
The final market for trafficked antiquities is open and public. Antiquities buyers are private collectors, usually high net-worth individuals of considerable social standing, or are our most respected cultural institutions and museums. Unlike consumers of, say, illicit drugs or arms, these antiquities buyers must be able to conspicuously consume their purchases without fear of legal reprisal. Antiquities are bought to be displayed. Thus the criminal networks that have developed to supply this market launder the antiquities, cleaning the taint of theft from them, obscuring evidence of crime, and allowing otherwise upstanding buyers to suspend disbelief and engage in what research has shown is a gray market, infiltrated by organized crime.
This text concentrates on the high end of the market, but of course the middle range and low ends of this same market do as much damage. But let's hope enough journalists writing about these issues take a look at this text as it challenges a number of commonly-met stereotypes. And thankfully, the word "terrorist" does not appear, nor does ISIS/ISIL. I wonder how many journalists will notice and start reflecting on why.

No comments:

Creative Commons License
Ten utwór jest dostępny na licencji Creative Commons Uznanie autorstwa-Bez utworów zależnych 3.0 Unported.