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By John Helmer, Moscow

You need to know that a conflict of interest is the first step on the road to corruption. If you don’t; and if you also think that unzipping your fly in public isn’t indecent exposure, so long as you think the onlookers will be impressed by what you’re showing off, there’s no invite for you at this party.

This one is for the last print journalists in the world for whom the trade of digging up and publishing conflicts of interest, recording that the emperor’s fly is open (without clothes, dripping money, etc.), is fast dying out, but who keep sending their invoices for the truth.


Private Eye, the last and only hard-copy investigative publication in Britain, is celebrating its fiftieth birthday this past week on October 25. You can subscribe to the paper copy and get it in the post. You can also subscribe and read by internet. The paper even has an archive search function. That way You can detect that Russia was better for laughs in London when Mikhail Gorbachev was getting hammered by Boris Yeltsin.

Across the water, Le Canard Enchaine, born on September 10, 1915, will hit its century shortly, unless the Gestapo stops it again. It wants to remain what it always has been. “Our metier, it’s to inform and attract the attention of our readers with a journal of paper and ink. It’s a fine metier, and will do to keep our team busy.” The archive function on the Canard’s site is good enough to show you the front page of the last sixty editions; that makes a year and a bit.

David Gleason, the senior investigative journalist of South Africa, turned 70 on October 21. He can be read on the internet, and also in the paper editions of Business Day of Johannesberg.

And Richard Baker, the only investigative journalist in the Australian newspaper business, shares his birthday with Private Eye’s, but he’s younger – 34. He also shares his laurel with writing partner, Nick McKenzie. They appear in The Age of Melbourne.

That’s it then – light a candle, blow it out, make a wish, keep it to yourself if there’s to be any chance of it coming true. True – now there’s an adjective that’s a challenge.

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