Al Jazeera Investigative Unit or I-Unit is the name for journalists from the network’s Investigative Journalism Directorate.
The I-Unit provides exclusive journalism for Al Jazeera Media Network’s many platforms and its content is translated into multiple languages.
Since its formation, the I-Unit’s documentaries have won more than forty awards and over a hundred nominations, including four from Bafta. In December 2019, it began its podcast series, Al Jazeera Investigates.
In 2011, Al Jazeera recognized the need to create a specialized team dedicated to investigative journalism. The methodology and workflow of the unit allows it to concentrate on generating original, breakthrough content.
The unit’s first release was The Palestine Papers, a leak of confidential documents that exposed the inner-workings of the peace process between Israel and Palestine. A year later, an investigation into the role of polonium in the death of Yasser Arafat again became headline news and resulted in the exhumation of the former PLO leader’s body.
Further headlines followed the release of Pakistan’s Bin Laden Dossier, when the I-Unit obtained an internal report on Pakistan’s response to the killing of the Al Qaeda leader.
The Spy Cables was described as the largest leak of confidential data since Snowden and resulted in front-page coverage in Britain and South Africa.
Other notable investigations include Inside Kenya’s Death Squads, which forced the Kenyan government to call an emergency cabinet meeting to react to its findings. The Lobby led to an apology by Israel’s ambassador to the British government and the firing of a senior political officer at Israel’s embassy in London. In 2020, How to Sell a Massacre made headline news for more than a week in Australia and has been described as ‘journalism’s most audacious sting’.
For the I-Unit, the investigation of corruption is a priority. Stealing Paradise created a political tsunami in the Maldives and contributed to the fall of the government. Anatomy of a Bribe led to the arrest of two cabinet ministers and a scandal that has shaken Namibia.
I-Unit investigations into global sport include The Dark Side, which named some of the best-known stars in the United States as users of performance enhancing drugs. Cricket’s Match Fixers exposed corruption at the highest levels of the international game, sparking an investigation by the sport’s governing body.
Of course, not everyone likes us. The former NFL quarterback Peyton Manning described our investigation into the use of PEDs by professional sports stars as “complete garbage”. Pauline Hanson, the leader of Australia’s anti-immigration, One Nation party, claimed we were spies who “supported Islamic extremist groups”.
As George Orwell is said to have remarked, “Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed; everything else is public relations.”
Since 2013, Al Jazeera Investigative Unit has received over a hundred awards and nominations from prestigious organisations across the globe. We thank these groups for supporting investigative journalism.