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How to Expose an Illegal Business in Your Pajamas

Updated: Mar 9, 2021

Speaker: Ivan Angelovski

Moderator: Brigitte Alfter

December 11th, 2020, 17:25–18:00 CET

This discussion was organized in cooperation with the International Visegrad Fund.

Written by Lucie Špetová

Key words: Illegal Arms Trade, Social Sites, Tracking, Evidence

Short annotation, summary

There are around 30 armed conflicts in the world, all of which need a huge amount of weapons. However, it was found that some countries fight using arms from countries with whom they do not have any arms deal. Even though the arms trade is one of the most non-transparent trades, Serbian investigative journalist Ivan Angelovski, proves that it is not that difficult to find out more – if you know where to look.

The project or approach to be discussed in the session

  • Ivan Angelovski introduces his work and shows how exposing illegal arms business works

  • He presents various tools that might help with tracking – list of them can be found on

  • He documented his work on various specific cases

Evidence of impact

Thanks to social media and various tracking tools, it is relatively easy and cheap to track and expose illegal arms trade. However, it is a very long process where the journalist has to be patient and observant to small hints. The job of investigative journalists revealed relations between countries that do no have an official arms deal, such as Serbia and Libya, or Serbia and Syria.

Limitations, risks of the approach provided by the speaker

Fighters from the current conflict area often use social sites where they post pictures of them fighting. It is those pictures that can serve as evidence; the fighters usually do not cover the serial number of the weapon and thanks to that the tracking can start. The problem is that there is a lot of useless data that the journalists have to go through. This method can be very time-consuming.


1. There are tools that help enormously with tracking illegal arms trade thanks to which the journalist does not have to leave their country, some of these tools can be found on

2. You need just one clear evidence and that would lead you to the whole story

3. Be aware of the critical role of social media and use them


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