25 Moldovan journalists and civic activists pledge for open data and more transparency
During the period 13 – 17 September 2017, 25 investigative journalists and civic activists from Moldova participated at the Open Data Media Camp, where they learned how to operate with open data: where to find, use visualize and interpret them. The camp took place under the Slovak Republic's Transfer of Knowledge and Transition Experience Program, supported by SlovakAid and organized together with UNDP Moldova.
When it comes to transparency, says Ondrej Gallo, manager of the Fund for Transparent Slovakia, we have to take into account three essential principles: authenticity, letter of law and consistency: "In other words, the transparency of a country actually starts from the transparency of each organization in part. You have to talk to people in the language they understand, to fully respect the legal framework in place and to come up with concrete results to the goals you have set."
Slovakia is a country with a long and inspiring experience in open data, mostly due to the perseverance of NGOs and civic activists.
"The tools presented by the Slovak experts are very well designed and are easy to use so that the civil society can influence decision-makers through their own example. The more NGOs will go to open data, the more authorities will be motivated to become transparent", says Vitalie Voznoi, a civic activist and participant at the Open Data Media Camp.
Those 25 participants are encouraged to join the scholarship program which will be supported by UNDP Moldova and will last during October 1st - December 31, 2017. On the basis of the ideas proposed for investigative materials, 6 winners will be selected who will receive a study visit to Slovakia for 4 days and a USD 1,000 scholarship.
Mariana Rata, mentor at the Open Data Media Camp, editor and coordinator at the Journalism Investigation Center and host of TV8 Moldova's "Black Box" TV show said: "Although there is a tendency to close down the access of journalists and of civil society representatives to public information, and not just in justice field, there are still enough tools and open databases to discover the irregularities committed by authorities. It takes a lot of vigilance, analytical spirit and, last but not least, courage. I am very happy that camp’s participants are aware of the importance of keeping this public information open, a right for which journalists have been fighting for many years."
At the end of the program, guided by local and Slovak mentors, each scholar will publish a thorough investigation and an article based on open data.
Investigations should address concrete cases of open contracting, anti-corruption in the field of public procurement, financial fraud, mone