Entry type: Portfolio
Publishing organisation: Fiquem Sabendo
Organisation size: Small
Fiquem Sabendo is one of Brazil’s most prominent FOIA and public records non-profit organizations. We doubled our team since last year and our work shapes transparency policies in our country. The next president’s transition team is using our content to think about how to improve the freedom of information act in 2023 and recognized, in a public letter, that we’re the only organization in Brazil that is monitoring the undue secrecy of public information in a systematic way. Fiquem Sabendo has become one of the most relevant sources to discuss public transparency and we give several interviews every year to the most relevant news media in Brazil to discuss open data and open government policies.
Description of portfolio:
We are currently developing many projects to enhance data journalism in our country. We have a newsletter to release data and public records we received through FOIA requests. Hundreds of regional newspapers and national and international media outlets use the data and documents we find every year. Only in the first semester of this year, more than 600 articles have been published using as sources, including AFP, Deutsche Welle, BBC, Al Jazeera, Estadão, Globo, Metrópoles and others. Since we started, in 2019, more than 3,000 articles have been published with our content. Some of these stories resulted in investigationsm helped authorities sanction companies and made the government save millions in public funds.
We have created WikiLAI, a Wikipedia-format website where users can find everything they need to know about FOIA in Brazil, like how to send requests, how to get specific information in many different government agencies, how to overcome secrecy and how to appeal – https://wikilai.fiquemsabendo.com.br/
We have received a grant from Google News Initiative and developed, this year, a platform to monitor government authorities’ schedules. To do that we have scraped hundreds of government websites and now we’re working with machine learning to identify when the same authority is meeting specific companies, politicians, political parties, etc. This will be helpful in the future to monitor lobbies in Brazil.
We also have a legal team that has presented more than 10 bills in the Brazilian congress to improve FOIA legislation in 2022. For that work, we receive a traditional award from the Congress, Premio de Transparencia.
We also started working on investigative projects in partnership with other organizations such as Revista Piauí and OCCRP. We’ve published 3 long investigations this year, one about hunger, a second about illegal cattle raising and a third about timber illegal trade. Our goal in those projects is to find the data, analyze it, get the public records and help improve the reporting that has been made by our partners. We also released historical documents from the Brazilian dictatorship that proved how the torture happened in that period – it was featured in a long article at Piaui magazine.
We also opened many important datasets to investigate environmental crimes, such as Cadastro Ambiental Rural (a rural land property register that helps in investigations about land grabbing and deforestation).