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What are the 'Panama Papers'?

When you think of journalists, you may think of people you see on television, like me. But in investigative journalism, the journalists become kind of like detectives -- discovering new information, and explaining what that information means to their readers, viewers, and listeners.

More than 100 media organizations spent a full year going through leaked documents revealing a pretty big scandal. It details that a number of international leaders, powerful people and big organizations are involved.

Elected leaders and other top officials from around the world are now responding to a massive leak of documents which are being called the "Panama Papers," because that's the country where they originated. The files, which contain years of data, allege top officials and people connected to them hid wealth in secret, 'offshore' companies. Offshore just means located in a foreign country. In simpler terms, those involved are accused of hiding their money to avoid paying taxes.


is money collected by the government from people or businesses for public use -- this money goes toward things like our roads and schools.

As a result of the allegations, Iceland's leader has already stepped down... But in China, the country is censoring news of the scandal. Will Ripley has more from Beijing.

Instructional Links

Website Article: The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, The Panama Papers


Lesson Plan: The Money Instructor, Understanding and Paying Taxes


Website Article: Wikipedia, Offshore


Website Article & Timeline: Tax Analysis, The Tax History Museum


Graph: Time Magazine, November 23, 2015, Which Countries Censor the Internet


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