The European Investigative Journalism Conference

How to use your rights to information across borders

Join this masterclass at Dataharvest 2024 to get the knowledge, inspiration, confidence and skills you need to use Right to Information laws in your investigations.

If you have a Dataharvest ticket, you can come add this full-day masterclass for just €50 by writing to: The masterclass takes place on Thursday 30 May, the day before the conference opens.

Why this masterclass matters

The law is a powerful tool for journalists to access information. Call it FOI, ‘wobbing’, this dear friend gets many nicknames, but we call it Right To Information (RTI). Exercising the right to access public information as a journalistic tool is to greatly expand your toolkit, empower your work, and give you access to stories otherwise hidden away in archives.

In an era where stories transcend borders, being able to use RTI laws to access information in other countries is a crucial skill for investigative journalists. Journalists can adopt the same “tax haven” approach used by the super rich who we investigate, shopping between legislations and across borders to overcome obstacles such as citizen requirements and prohibitive financial and time costs to access the information you need.

Through demystifying the process of filing RTI requests, exposing the many different legislations open to you, and giving you inspiration to think creatively about how to use these laws to your advantage, this masterclass will equip you with the knowledge and skills needed to feel confident using RTI as a swiss army knife in your journalism toolkit.

What you will learn

  • How to make use of the 136 national RTI laws in the world in cross-border journalism, using the research and interactive map Tarjei developed while at the Oxford Reuters Institute.
  • Inspiration through case studies of others have creatively used RTI across-borders to release information.
  • How to speed up RTI processes and work more efficiently with the tools available.
  • How to deal with delays and challenges to your requests, both using legislation and how to take a human approach to people handling FOI requests as human sources to unlock the information you’re looking for.
  • How to use the Aarhus Convention and GDPR as tools to obtain information from private companies.
  • How to access information from EU institutions.
  • Practical problem solving, getting stuck into RTI requests (bring your laptop!).

What you will walk away with

  • An understanding of how Right to Information tools can be useful in your reporting, no matter what you’re investigating.
  • Knowledge of RTI laws and tools available to you across the world.
  • Knowledge of how to file information requests with private entities, EU and government institutions.
  • Confidence in using RTI laws and navigating both the legal and human side of FOI.
  • Inspiration on the kinds of stories and information cross-border information requests can open up to you

Who it’s for

Anyone who wants to expand their Right to Information toolkit, to be more effective at using the law as a journalistic tool in their country and across-borders.

About the trainer

Tarjei Leer-Salvesen, is a Norwegian investigative reporter, trainer and author. He has published three textbooks on investigative journalistic method and journalism ethics. His main area of expertise is the use of legislation to access public information as a journalistic tool.

In 2022-23, Tarjei was a fellow at the Oxford Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, where he developed a global overview of how journalists can exercise their right to information across borders.