cross-border journalism

Farmsubsidies in Germany – breakthrough in access to information

In Archive on November 7, 2007 at 11:26 am

It was a funny situation, that court meeting in Düsseldorf, where I tried to FOI out the data about EU farm subsidies in the German province of Nordrhein Westfalen – my home province.  The chairing judge, the gentleman from the ministry (my opponent) and myself – who had asked for access to data via the freedom of information law of the province – all originally came from the nearby city of Wuppertal.

During that copurt meeting the ministry reluctantly gave me part of the data, which resulted in a story about large land owners and companies in the province: The largest beneficiaries.

This was an absolute breakthrough in Germany!

I shared the data with Hans-Martin Tillack from the Stern magazine and this resulted in an excellent article about subsidies following the classic “the rich get rich and the poor get poorer“.

And it resulted in a pre-nomination for the prestigious German Henri-Nannen Award. But that’s another story.

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