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Ian Yee

Ian Yee is an impact-driven investigative journalist and documentary producer at The Fourth, a not-for-profit media startup he co-founded with five other award-winning journalists formerly from the acclaimed R.AGE team.

Ian and the team have used their investigative skills to not only expose crime and social injustice, but also develop effective impact solutions. They’ve tackled issues including child sexual grooming (“Predator In My Phone”, 2016), human trafficking (“Student/Trafficked”, 2017), and drug trafficking (“The Malaysian Drug Trade”, 2019); leading to legislative reforms, the disruption of criminal operations, and several arrests.

The team’s courageous efforts, especially by its undercover journalists while at R.AGE, have won them over 40 major awards, including multiple Asian Media Awards, World Digital Media Awards, SOPA Awards, Marketing Excellence Awards, and Kajai Awards (Malaysia’s top honour for journalists). They have also been nominated for the prestigious Peabody Awards twice.

Today, The Fourth’s mission is to defend social justice in Malaysia by producing “fearless journalism for justice”, and training aspiring journalists and content creators to do the same.

They run their highly-rated Fourth Academy training programmes at a fully-equipped community studio in Publika (known as the Fourth Creators Studio), where NGOs, activists, and journalism students can also use to produce social impact content for free. In just six months, they have trained nearly 300 aspiring journalists and content creators, and provided paid job opportunities to several of its alumni.

Ian is quick to credit the “incredibly brave, committed, and talented” young journalists he has worked with over the years for their collective success, and is happy to see many of them go on to achieve even more impact in different disciplines.

Ian believes it is also the team’s remarkable work that has allowed him to achieve some level of personal success. He has been selected as an Obama Leader, Acumen Fellow, Bertha Fellow, Gen-T honouree, and UK International Leaders Programme fellow — all of which he firmly believes would not have been possible without them.

He currently sits on advisory boards for the international Environmental Reporting Collective (ERC), and the Pulitzer Center’s Rainforest Journalism Fund.

I want to say it’s about defending truth and justice and all that; but really, the greatest impact we can make in this world is just to be kind — to others, and to ourselves.

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