How an Award-Winning Investigation Was Buried in Two Newsrooms

Earlier this month the Indian news site Newslaundry won a prestigious Ramnath Goenka Award for a series of stories based on Right to Information (RTI) requests. The information — over 2,000 letters from Indian state-owned enterprises revealed how political leaders routinely misused up to US$15 million in public funds by asking for media ads or sponsorships for their pet organizations. Here’s the inside story of how the piece almost didn’t come to light.

Protecting Journalists Who Cover Corruption: Good For The Bottom Line

Corruption is one of the most dangerous beats for journalists, and one of the most important for holding those in power to account. There is growing international recognition that corruption is also one of the biggest impediments to poverty reduction and good governance. This is why journalists on this beat must be protected, including by multilateral lending institutions such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

FOI Laws A Global Success Story

All around the world, very real benefits result when legal tools are used to obtain government information. Because there are so many frustrations for those who seek information, it’s sometimes easy to overlook the positive benefits. Freedom of information (FOI) reform advocates need to document and celebrate the victories.

Independent Media in Asian Democracies Battle Internet Rules

Independent news organizations in Indonesia, the Philippines and South Korea are experiencing both direct and indirect challenges in cyberspace, from content blocking to censorship and self-censorship. Edgardo Legaspi, executive director of the Southeast Asian Press Alliance, says threatened governments are “playing catch-up” after recognizing that the Internet can be an effective tool for voices to be heard.

FOI Requests in 11 Countries: Implementation Is Key

With freedom of information statutes in over 100 countries today, the laws have become a key tool for journalists from India to Mexico. But their success depends on how they’re used and implemented, as Swiss scholar Vincent Mabillard explores in his recent paper, Freedom of Information Laws: Evolution of the Number of Requests in 11 Jurisdictions. We are pleased to present highlights from his paper from the University of Lausanne.

What Makes Governments Resistant to Coups? Transparency.

The relationship between transparency and political stability in democracies is simple: More transparency means more stable democratic rule. As transparency rises, democratically elected leaders are less likely to be ousted through extra-constitutional methods like a coup. In non-democracies the situation is more complicated. But greater transparency still means fewer coups.

A Media Resource Center for the Rio Olympics

On Thursday, June 30, a group of journalists met at a house in Botafogo in the South Zone of Rio de Janeiro for a full day of training in the city’s access to information laws, followed by a debate on transparency in the context of the upcoming Olympics. “We wanted to do something before the Olympics on access to information, because so many people don’t know how the system works,” explained Mariana Simões, manager of Casa Pública.