International Consortium of Investigative Journalists

The World’s Best Cross-Border Investigative Team

About this project: Smoke Screen

Since it was founded, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists has twice assigned teams of reporters to examine practices of the global tobacco industry. Those groundbreaking stories focused on the unsavory ties of tobacco companies to smuggling, revealing how the industry colluded with organized crime groups to further market share and evade taxes.

In February 2010, ICIJ launched another probe, this time following the industry’s money into the realm of international politics and lobbying. In eight countries, reporters have followed connections between the industry and government officials who are tasked with protecting non-smokers and designing rules to curb the massive public cost of treating tobacco-related illness.

The investigation has traced how multinational tobacco companies, faced with stagnant sales and health-conscious governments in developed nations, have targeted expansion in developing countries and emerging markets. Smokescreen reporters have investigated an array of industry efforts to delay or derail smoking reforms, ranging from hard-nosed lobbying and lawsuits to charitable donations and outright payoffs.

Thirteen ICIJ reporters have conducted hundreds of interviews with leading politicians, government regulators, health-care specialists, tobacco control activists, and current and former industry executives. The project has looked at six countries as case studies – India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, Russia, and Uruguay. In each of these places, court and government records are being mined – in some cases testing new freedom of information laws. And a trove of tobacco industry documents, made public after the industry lost landmark lawsuits in U.S. courts, are being examined to draw connections between past practices and present-day consequences of tobacco’s hard lobbying.

The Team

ICIJ Director: David E. Kaplan

ICIJ interim Director: Bill Kovach

Project Director: Ricardo Sandoval Palos

Reporting Team: Traver Riggins (United States), Solomon Adebayo (Nigeria), Duncan Campbell (United Kingdom), Andreas Harsono (Indonesia), Murali Krishnan (India), Claudio Paolillo (Uruguay), Alejandra Xanic von Bertrab (Mexico)

Web Team: Andrew Green, Erik Lincoln, Cole Goins

Web Site Design: Roger Black Studio

Graphics: Stephen Rountree

Photography: Rocco Rorandelli (India and Nigeria) Bernardo de Niz and Jose Corea (Mexico)
 
Video Production: Emma Schwartz and Jasmine Norwood

Funding

Smokescreen is generously supported by grants from the Adessium Foundation and the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. The grant from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health was part of the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use, supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies, and coordinated by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

Support for this and other Center for Public Integrity projects is provided by the Carnegie Corporation of New YorkEthics and Excellence in Journalism, the Ford Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the McCormick FoundationNoVo Foundation, the Park Foundation, the Popplestone Foundation, Public Welfare FoundationSurdna Foundation, and the V. Kann Rasmussen Foundation.

Support for this and other Center for Public Integrity projects is provided by the Carnegie Corporation of New YorkEthics and Excellence in Journalism, the Ford Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the McCormick FoundationNoVo Foundation, the Park Foundation, the Popplestone Foundation, Public Welfare Foundation,Surdna Foundation, and the V. Kann Rasmussen Foundation.

Partners

Proceso magazine (Mexico), Novaya Gazeta (Russia), and Busqueda (Uruguay).

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