In this series we want to present you organisations that promote and work with open data in Europe and Central Asia. We hope that you find their work as fascinating as we did.
In an earlier post, we gave you a glimpse into the budding open data scene of Moldova. A key part of this scene is RISE Moldova, a Chisinau-based NGO, bringing together journalists, programmers and activists from Moldova and Romania.
RISE promotes and uses investigative journalism to uncover corruption, misuse of office and conflict of interest. Using government data, RISE has published several stories on corruption in Moldova and their stories are regularly picked up by the mainstream media.
As an NGO, RISE Moldova also supports other investigative journalists: In 2015 they organised a Hackathon and various workshops on data journalism, as well as trainings on data security.
We met up with them in Chisinau to hear more about their work.
- Why did you start working with Open Data?
By 2012, open data in Moldova became widely accessible online. As a result it became an important tool for investigative journalists. Today, some stories are impossible to make without accessing open data. Other stories start by a search through platforms with data on public acquisitions, registration chamber or other data sources. For us it is now unlikely to make a serious story without accessing open government data platform. Data base access has become a part of our job. Since data journalism has become so important to use, we try to share our knowledge with other media professionals from Moldova through our workshops. You could say that our work is a way to lobby for open data in Moldova. We won’t rest until the number of journalists interested in open data goes up and the government is forced to take capacity building in this field seriously.
- What is one achievement you are particularly proud of?
Our most important achievement is the credibility we’ve gradually built over time. When we publish a story, nobody doubts the truth of what we say. And that’s because we prove our claims using documents, and we avoid providing information we can’t prove. That’s why each story we publish has an average of 20 links and shares in different media media outlets, both locally and internationally.
Our story with the biggest impact was #PlahotniucLeaks, which presented an empire owned and controlled by the most controversial businessman, politician and oligarch Vladimir Plahotniuc. Beside its impact on social networks, it was linked to from more than 20 local and international media outlets. Most of the investigation was made using open data platforms like registration chambers, web domain data, and the cadaster.
- What are the next steps for RISE Moldova?
We plan to expand our activities in terms of publications and coverage. We intend to create a video department within our main office. Also, we aim to create a few branches (local investigative departments) in different regions of Moldova (including autonomous Gagauzia and breakaway region Transnistria). This will help our investigations to have a greater impact.
Find out more about RISE Moldova on their Website. You can also follow them on Twitter.