June 11, 2012

Wobbing Travels to India

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In a recent broadcast, RSTV–India’s parliamentary channel–aired a half-hour debate about journalists using their country’s freedom of information act. Among those in the debate was Shyamlal Yadav, one of the speakers at the Global Investigative Journalism Conference in Kiev in October 2011.

In Kiev, Shyamlal inspired us with his stories about the travel expenses of Indian officials. Through tirelessly applying for documents, he found out that government ministers traveled enough miles to circle the Earth 256 times. Later, he discovered that state administration officials had traveled enough to cover the distance from the Earth to the moon and back 74 times. You can read more about his speech in Kiev here.

In May 2012, Shyamlal spoke at the Data Harvest conference in Brussels, where he made good contacts with European journalists using their various freedom of information acts – an activity we call wobbing. (from Dutch journalist slang).

As inspiration travels, Shyamlal brought the idea of using a verb for this method back with him to India. Watch around minute 25 to 26 in the RSTV broadcast–even if you do not speak Hindi, you’ll get the point.

Brigitte Alfter was organizer of Data Harvest 2012.

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