2018 proved, again, why we need to strengthen the infrastructure for democracy. This year, our freedom of information project FragDenStaat has revealed how the Ministry of Family Affairs cooperates with the Domestic Intelligence Service, we have published the Ministry of the Interior's Master Plan on Migration and documents on “concentration camp-like prisons” in Libya.
Democracy is not only under fire in the USA or Brazil, but also in Germany. And yet there is too little controversy about how we can expand democratic structures in this country. We believe that FragDenStaat is an important part of the democratic infrastructure in Germany. In 2018, a total of around 10,000 Freedom Of Information requests were sent to local, state and federal authorities via the platform.
If requests alone do not help, we enforce freedom of information in court. This year alone, we have filed ten lawsuits ourselves and, together with the Gesellschaft für Freiheitsrechte, have supported others. Every Advent Sunday until Christmas, we present one of our new lawsuits.
It's worth it: This year, for example, our lawsuits have succeeded in getting the state of Rhineland-Palatinate to disclose hundreds of research papers and the Bundesrat to make the voting behaviour of the federal states public. The Federal Government decided in November – thanks to our campaign “transparent laws” – that in the future draft laws and lobby statements are published by default. A lasting impact of our work and a strengthening of democracy infrastructure!
New functions and many plans
Over the year, we worked intensively on the features of FragDenSstaat. Now we have project requests for journalists, a fax function, a better search, a new request management and an upgraded server, a revision of the interface design and basics for many innovations.
And we have a lot planned for 2019: In January and February we are planning to launch two new, very different campaigns that will be very interesting. We want to introduce a crowdfunding option, provide more automated support for requesters and integrate appeals into the platform. And our referendum for a Berlin Transparency Law will start!
The FragDenStaat team currently consists of Stefan Wehrmeyer, Arne Semsrott and Sebastian Schröder, who is doing a voluntary service at the Open Knowledge Foundation. To be able to continue our work in a meaningful way, we need more monthly support. At the moment, we pre-finance many of our complaints privately. That's okay, but certainly not sustainable.
That's why we need your contribution to infrastructure funding. Please become a supporter of FragDenStaat! 2, 5 or 10 Euro per month help us enormously!