Organisation: Abraji - Brazilian Association for Investigative Journalism (Brazil)
Publication Date: 01/27/2017
Size of team/newsroom:small
DescriptionThe project Ctrl+X is a database that gathers lawsuits in which people, politicians or companies try to remove content from the internet and hide information from Brazilian audience. We scrape on-line information about these actions to analyze and publish them in a big interactive infographic. Ctrl+X was created by the Brazilian Association for Investigative Journalism (Abraji). Our main purpose is to add transparency in the debate of who is trying to hide information from the public in Brazil. Unfortunately, the use of the legal system as a way to intimidate and censor journalists and content producers is becoming a bi issue in the country. By organizing and shedding a light on the data related to this issue, Ctrl+X raises awareness about the problem and allows journalists to investigate whoever is trying to hide something. During 2016 Brazilian elections, our project mapped more than 600 lawsuits filed by candidates that were trying to remove information. This worked in real time, so journalists and users could know what parties and what politicians from each region filed more lawsuits asking to hide information and what was behind each of them. We caught many candidates trying to remove news articles from different media outlets or comments and criticism from social media. After scraping data from Justice websites, we review the full-text of all the lawsuits to select the ones related to our project before displaying them in a treemap. The user can customize the infographic with different filters: state, candidate who filed the lawsuit, party, alleged reason to remove the content, type of content (text, photo, video etc), media outlet aimed by the lawsuit and date. So, for instance, you can make a query to know the Rio de Janeiro politicians that filed more lawsuits to remove information from online in 2016. Or compare the parties that tried to hide information more often in different elections. There is a huge number of possible queries. We also have gathered information from previous years (before 2016) so the user can compare them over time. Currently we have more than 2.500 lawsuits catalogued.
What makes this project innovative? What was its impact?Here is your chance to tell us why you think your project is different from others. What do you think makes it special? What innovative techniques have you used? What was the impact of your story? There is no other easy way to research lawsuit data in scale in the Brazilian judiciary system. Websites are complex, lack proper categorization and, many times, forbid mass search, which turns the task of gathering information about some subjects especially difficult. Ctl+X innovative approach of gathering and organizing data makes it much easier to research, visualize and download spreadsheets with information related to freedom of expression issues. We know of similar projects, like Lumen (in U.S), but none of them has the same data visualization, categorization and ease of use approach. Because Ctrl+X provided insightful data freedom of expression, a subject normally ignored by Brazilian media managed to made the news. In the end of the 2016 electoral campaign, more than 200 articles about politicians trying to hide information had been published in Brazilian media using the project’s data. All the major Brazilian newspapers, relevant radios and a TV show ran stories on freedom of expression with our information.
Technologies used for this project:Ctrl+X uses 3 different strategies to gather data: 1 – We use ParseHub scraping tool (parsehub.com) to get into the justice websites and make thousands of queries every week collecting lawsuits that can relate to our subject. Parsehub became a partner and offered one year of free service to us. Most of our data come from this approach. 2 – We have another partnership with JusBrasil (jusbrasil.com.br), a search tool inside the Brazilian Judiciary System, that notifies us whenever they detect new lawsuits that can be of our interest. 3 – We allow journalists and other content producers to send us lawsuits in which they are a part. More specifics about tools used to build the website and dataviz capabilities: - PHP, Wordpress, Mcrypt, MySQL, Apache, Nginx - Build tools: Ruby, Bundler, Nodejs, Brunch, Grunch
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The GEN Community Team