A Funny Thing Happened on Our Way to FOIA

After nine years and over 60,000 requests, MuckRock — the Massachusetts-based news site that specializes in using the US Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) — has been witness to some pretty impressive efforts to keep public information from the public. In the spirit of Sunshine Week, they compiled some of the weirdest, wildest and downright hilarious redactions they’ve received since launching in 2010.

Unlocking Laws to Set Information Free: GIJN’s Global Guide to FOI and RTI

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More than 115 countries worldwide have laws that require officials to turn over public records. Of course, even in the countries that have no laws it never hurts to ask. But there’s an advantage to using an access law — variously called freedom of information laws, access to information laws, right to information and right to know laws. There are many resources for journalists seeking to file records requests in countries with laws governing access to information. To help exploit these legal tools, we’ve lined up GIJN’s Complete Global Guide to Freedom of Information, a resource with three sections:

Tips and Tricks: A collection of the best advice on how to use access laws.

How to Fact-Check Politics in Countries with No Press Freedom

Starting a fact-checking organization in a country with limited media freedom is difficult, but not impossible. Some, like Rouhani Meter, which fact-checks Iran’s president, may have to operate from outside the country and be creative about how they distribute their content. Daniel Funke writes about fact-checkers who have found a way to work in less-than-friendly environments.

GIJN’s Data Journalism Top 10: Sex in Parliament, Peace and Press Freedom and Vanishing Global Water

What’s the global data journalism community tweeting about this week? Our NodeXL #ddj mapping from May 14 to 20 finds @FinancialTimes highlighting @NASA data on high risk drought areas across the globe, @infogram juxtaposing press freedom with global peace rankings and @BBCNews showing how smuggling mobile phones is a rampant problem in English and Welsh prisons.

“100 Years of Bondage” — Investigating Slavery in the Amazon

For generations, the workers in the Brazilian Amazon who cut the palm straw used for brooms have been functionally enslaved by a system of loans provided by the bosses. Thais Lazzeri, an investigative reporter for Repórter Brasil, had to win their trust as she delved deeply into this topic for her October 2017 article, “100 Years of Bondage” which was beautifully illustrated with photographs by Fernando Martinho.