PM Modi of India has commended Nigerian investigative journalist David Hundeyin acknowledging his brilliant journalism that has contributed to advancing democracy.
“Public intellectuals, policy analysts, and researchers play an important role in democracy by understanding complex policy dynamics and communicating it to the people,” Mr Modi said in a January 25, 2022, letter to the Nigerian independent reporter. “In helping design policy as well as in dissecting policy outcomes, they bring people and policymakers closer.’’
“Your award-winning journalism has won widespread appreciation. Your affection for India and Indian culture is also heartening to note,” the Indian leader added.
Mr Hundeyin received the commendation over a story he wrote in 2020 that highlighted the plight of Indian expatriates working under degrading conditions at Nigeria’s telecom giant Globacom.
The workers had gone over four years without receiving their entitlements, the story said, providing yet another insight into an existing culture of corruption, avarice and injustice long associated with the Lagos-based telecommunications giant.
The firm pushed back against Mr Hundeyin’s investigation, but many Nigerians and expatriate workers said they knew the truth about Globacom’s corporate practices.
The story was published in the online newspaper Newswire at the time, but Mr Hundeyin has since moved to independent publisher Substack, where he runs West Africa Weekly.
“I feel honoured to have received an endorsement at such a high level, and it further makes the point that good journalism in the 21st century is journalism that has a measurable impact, not journalism that ticks arbitrary boxes set by self-appointed gatekeepers,” Mr Hundeyin said in a statement to Peoples Gazette on Friday night.
The commendation from halfway around followed similar awards and accolades that Mr Hundeyin has received in recent years for his piercing and often contentious investigations.
Only last month, he received widespread appraise for being the winner of a maiden award in the financial crimes reporting genre.
His reporting style, at times based on open-source, and laurels that come with it have also earned Mr Hundeyin criticism amongst those who claim custody of journalism.
He was criticised last year for having to make corrections to his investigation about the disappearance of Ini Umoren, a young job seeker who was later found dead in the southern Nigerian city of Uyo.
In his statement to The Gazette, Mr Hundeyin has words for those who have yet to rise to the demands of modern, increasingly digital, journalism.
“I hope this will inspire Nigeria’s new generation of journalists to embrace the new frontiers of the profession, adopt new storytelling formats, and break out of the boxes installed by supposed “senior” colleagues whose only interest is protection of the status quo at all cost,” the journalist said.
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