The German Freedom of Information Act was passed ten years ago and entitles everyone to official information and documents from federal authorities. However, especially journalists hardly use this opportunity, although it could help to access original sources that would remain closed to regular press inquiries. In the last year, only 9.000 requests have been submitted to federal authorities, the majority by law firms. For comparison, in Serbia more than 300.000 requests have been made, in Great Britain and the United States more than a million each. The low number in Germany can be explained by both a lack of general awareness as well as a complicated administrational procedure.

With the open-source tool FragDenStaatPLUS this problem shall be addressed by providing a unique and powerful tool for (data)-journalists and their investigations. FragDenStaatPLUS will enable them to submit hundreds of request at all relevant authorities at the same time, with one click only. In addition, the platform allows for a cooperation with the crowd and thus facilitates extensive research, an innovative media use and the generation of knowledge.

FragDenStaatPLUS aims to reduce research costs and efforts for journalists and publishers. Furthermore, all citizens get a chance to participate in journalistic content production while journalists benefit from a new form of publicity and a deeper appreciation for journalistic topics and their work.

The project team

Project leader of FragDenStaatPLUS is Arne Semsrott. He is winner of the Otto-Brenner-Prize for critical media journalism 2015 and 2016. Developer and data journalist Andrej Sandorf and designer Nadine Stammen complete the team.

Andrej Sandorf and his teams have realized LobbyPlag, LobbyRadar and Geheimer Krieg among other projects and have been awarded for their work with the Coburger Media Prize, the Lead Award and the dpa Infographics Award.

Nadine Stammen has received the Annual Multimedia Award, the Lead Award and the Typo3 Award for her design of the Stasi-Mediathek of the Federal Commissioner for the Records of the State Security Service of the former German Democratic Republic (BStU).

FragDenStaatPLUS is funded by MIZ Innovation Funding for Media Professionals.