FEB 25 - 01 2019
9:00AM - 6:00PM

Financial investigative journalism and digital security training course





Finance Uncovered invites applications from journalists, campaigners and academics based in Asia who would like to attend their five-day financial investigative journalism and digital security training course in Jakarta.

The dates for this Jakarta training will be:

Monday 25 February 2019 – Friday 1 March 2019

The deadline for applications is Wednesday 14 November at 12h00 GMT

You do not need to have a financial background to apply but Finance Uncovered considers it important when selecting candidates to see evidence of their investigative experience. Class instructions will take place in English.

Why attend?

Over three days, journalists will be shown how to investigate corporate accounts, offshore activity and corporate corruption. Finance Uncovered will show journalists where to find documents, how to analyse them and other practical tools to help uncover financial secrecy.

This training will also demonstrate how participants can secure those involved in their investigation by improving their risk assessment and security skills.

A combination of hands-on training and guidance from senior practitioners will give participants the basis to investigate financial corruption as well as offering the opportunity to network with other journalists and activists.

The course aims to help participants understand:

  • the building blocks of the offshore world
  • how to access and interpret company accounts
  • where to access other company information
  • the methodology behind the ground-breaking tax avoidance investigations into Google, SAB Miller and Vodafone – by the journalists who conducted them
  • how to investigate and report corruption stories
  • the steps required to keep safe and minimise personal risk
  • how to track the international policy agenda relating to illicit financial flows
  • how to keep research safe (see below)

Digital Security

Investigative journalists following the money often work with sensitive information that adversaries very often do not want exposed. So training on keeping journalists, their data and sources secure is paramount. This is why during the last section of Finance Uncovered’s training, Free Press Unlimited will focus on advanced digital security techniques, including encryption, secure communication and methods to stay “under the radar” during investigations. This focus will cover:

  • Device security, how to keep one’s equipment secure
  • Online security, how to safely operate online
  • Mobile security, how to safely use digital equipment on-the-road, including telephones and other devices
  • Social media security, how to safely use social media for research and publication

Bursaries available

Bursaries are available for working journalists from Asia. Bursaries cover visa fees, travel and accommodation. Due to the limited number of bursaries, applicants will be selected on their track record in investigative journalism. Activists will have to demonstrate some economic justice research and campaign experience. As Finance Uncovered tends to be over-subscribed, some candidates will be placed on a waiting list for a subsequent course either in Jakarta or London.

Non-bursary places

There may also be places available for activists, researchers and journalists from global media. But people from campaign groups, academics and global media will have to pay their own travel and accommodation to Jakarta.

How to apply

To apply participants must fill in the online application form. Applicants are invited not to copy and paste entire articles into the form, where possible, and provide links or a few lines summary of the article plus date of publication. The deadline for applications is Wednesday 14 November 2018 at 12h00 GMT. Successful attendants will be informed by the end of November.


(Subject to minor alteration)

Day One: Monday February 25

Registration from 9am onwards for a 9.30am start.

09h30-10h00 – Introductions

10h00-12h30 An introduction to help understand the roots and history of offshore, its scale, the techniques used to avoid, evade and launder, and policy responses and relevant institutions delivered by one of the giants of the tax justice movement.

12h30-13h30 Lunch

13h30-15h30 Investigating the extractive industry


15h45-16h30 Investigating tax incentives

16h30-18h00 Film + discussion on investigating corruption

Day Two: Tuesday February 26

09h30 to 17h30 A whole day given over to understanding how to report company accounts.

  • Executives motivation
  • Director & Auditor Reports
  • The three main sections of accounts – P&L, Balance Sheet and Cashflow
  • Accounting policies such as revenue recognition
  • Notes
  • Tax
  • Bringing it all together

Day Three: Wednesday February 27

9:00-10: 00am A live “Investigative Dashboard” tour.  How to access information from:

  • UK Companies House
  • The London Stock Exchange, the US Securities & Exchange Commission, the Toronto Stock Exchange, the Hong Kong stock exchanges
  • Tax havens around the world

10:00 to 11:30pm “Now it’s your  turn!” Working in teams, inviting them to access key financials of specific multinationals companies. And then to share findings.


11h45 to 13h00 Investigating money launderers and their assets

13.00-14.00 Lunch

14.00-14.30 Continuing investigating money launderers and their assets

14:30-16:00 Constructing a tax avoidance investigation


16:15-17:00 Identifying assets and verifying individuals using Facebook, Twitter and Instagram plus cool tools.

17:00-18:00 “How to take your audience with you” when it comes to reporting on finance. Plus working on cross-border stories.

Suggested reading:

Day Four: Thursday February 28

Morning: Raising security awareness through the practice of risk assessment as a methodology to properly identify mitigating tools:

  • Case study: fossil fuel extraction in Petronia
  • Assessing the risks of a journalistic investigations

13.00-14.00 Lunch

Afternoon: Building a consensus in the room around fundamental concepts, namely privacy and anonymity:

  • How can we think about security, privacy and anonimity
  • Communication safety: confidential email and private messaging
  • External communication and public outreach
  • Security checklist

Day Five: Friday March 1

Morning: Demystifying technology underlying defensive tools, namely encryption and password management:

  • Situational awareness, precautionary measures
  • Good passwords are the basis for digital security
  • How to think about encryption

13.00-14.00 Lunch

Afternoon: Addressing misconceptions regarding to the limits of popular tools such as Tor and VPN:

  • Securing your devices, securing your investigation
  • Security checklist (cont.)
  • Conclusions & work together (Q&A)

This training is being delivered by Finance Uncovered and Free Press Unlimited as part of the Money Trail consortium, which also includes Journalismfund.eu and Oxfam Novib. The Money Trail consortium is offering a total of six training sessions for journalists in Abuja, Jakarta and London. We also offer a large number of grants for cross-border stories on illicit finance. Check Money Trail’s website for more information.


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