Beatriz Farrugia used Brazil’s freedom of information laws to investigate the country’s hosting of the World Cup. In a special guest post for OJB, the Brazilian journalist and former MA Data Journalism student passes on some of her tips for using FOIA.
I am from Brazil, a country well-known for football and FIFA World Cup titles — and the host of the World Cup in 2014. Being a sceptical journalist, in 2019 I tried to discover the real impacts of that 2014 World Cup on the 213 million residents of Brazil: tracking the 121 infrastructure projects that the Brazilian government carried out for the competition and which were considered the “major social legacy” of the tournament.
In 2018 the Brazilian government had taken the website and official database on the 2014 FIFA World Cup infrastructure projects offline — so I had to make Freedom of Information (FOIA) requests to get data.
The investigation took 3 months and more than 230 FOIA requests to 33 different public bodies in Brazil. On August 23, my story was published.
Here is everything that I have learned from making those hundreds of FOIA requests:Continue reading