In this GIJN Webinar, exclusively in Hindi, we bring together journalists and experts who will share their experiences and suggest various ways to innovatively use the RTI Act for investigative journalism. Apart from suggesting ways to sniff out wrongdoings in government spendings, they will also offer tips on how to extract information by framing RTI queries in a creative manner.
News & Analysis
The power of the pen — writers are so dangerous that the US Federal Bureau of Investigation deemed it necessary to start surveillance on many of them, including Hannah Arendt, Allen Ginsberg, Ernest Hemingway, Susan Sontag, and Hunter S Thompson. The book “Writers Under Surveillance” gathers some of these investigation files that were obtained with Freedom of Information Act requests by MuckRock.
How can a journalist request Federal Bureau of Investigation’s files on an individual? MuckRock’s JPat Brown prepared a useful step-by-step flowchart guide for all scenarios to help you make sure you’ve gathered all the materials you need before you file that FOIA.
For the last three years Gavin Chait has been fighting — and winning — multiple freedom of information cases to unlock data on vacant properties. Here are the lengths he took to disprove the City of London’s excuse for not publishing information on unoccupied commercial properties.
Reporting Tools & Tips
There are hundreds of stories in business registries and court documents around the world just waiting for a journalist to uncover them. Emmanuel Freudenthal shares his five tips on finding open-source secrets in Africa with GIJN — helpful guidelines which can be used around the world.
Freedom of information requests have fueled recent environmental stories around the world. GIJN’s Resource Center director, Toby McIntosh, put together a round-up of a few that might stimulate your investigative thinking.
A team of Reuters reporters, editors and data analysts reviewed the results of hundreds of autopsies and filed hundreds of public records requests involving deaths by Taser in the US. The result? Not only did the investigation catalogue 1,005 deaths, but it ended up building the most comprehensive database ever on Taser-related deaths.
Data on government workforces might not sound that exciting — that is until you consider the trove of information it can help uncover. Here’s how journalists worldwide are using FOI requests to dig into great stories.
Tracking down local government expenses is a recurrent theme for many successful freedom of information requests. Some recent examples suggest that quite a variety of information is potentially available — about credit card charges, salaries, retirement parties, and even costs of leak investigations. Have a great story you developed using a FOI/RTI request? Send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re currently looking for examples regarding immigration.
Reporting Tools & Tips
Freedom of information requests can generate unique stories on a wide range of subjects. Here’s a sampling that covers fishing, Uber, football and a suspect land deal. They’re united in revealing the potential for developing stories based on requesting information — about government permits, local crime statistics and official correspondence.