Publicidad Oficial (Official Publicity)

Soft censorship or indirect government censorship, includes a variety of actions intended to influence media—short of closures, imprisonments, direct censorship of specific content, or physical attacks on journalists or media facilities.

Publicidad Oficial focuses on financial aspects of official soft censorship in Mexico. In this country, the allocation of Government advertising is the more common tool to exert soft censorship and is an integral part of the country’s complicated media landscape. Absent precise and clear rules, it is a means to influence or even a tool to blackmail media owners and journalists.

Federal and local governments use official advertising to shape media outlets’ editorial line and push partisan agendas. Opaque and arbitrary allocation of official advertising constrains pluralism and a diversity of voices by selectively funding media outlets that support officials and their policies.

Read their latest report here: Buying Compliance:Governmental Advertising and Soft Censorship in Mexico

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Twitter: @PubliOficial@fundarMexico

Citizen Action Network for Accountability (CANA)

The Citizen Action Network for Accountability in the Philippines works to improve public services provided in our communities in general and to the poorest and most marginalized in particular.

CANA believes simply that more we ordinary people can understand and engage the government, the more accountable and effective we can all hold it to be.

Latest Work

Citizens force city to improve quality control of public works: A simple story on how citizen action compelled the government to repair a foot bridge previously declared complete yet unusable during rainy days.

Citizens encouraged to monitor government projects, spending: A national broadcast report in Filipino featuring CANA’s views and work in encouraging citizen action to fight corruption and demand for good governance.

Facebook: Citizen Action NetTwitter: @CitizenActionPH

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XNet

Xnet is formed by a group of activists that, since 2008 work in fields related to:

  • online democracy (participation mechanisms and citizen control of power and institutions);
  • advocacy of a neutral and free Internet;
  • free circulation of culture, knowledge and information and the defense of citizen journalism for the right to know, to inform and be informed;
  • the development of technical, communication and legal strategies for the fight against corruption  and;
  • techno-politics understood as the practice of networking and taking action for empowerment, justice and social transformation.
  • Anti-corruption legal and communication strategies

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XNet does not perceive political parties and public prosecutors as allies, but as a part of the problem. For anyone paying attention, it is obvious that the only victories in the fight against systemic corruption come from citizens, or thanks to citizens. Corruption is a moral, legal and political problem, but it is also a technical problem and as such, it can be pragmatically tackled in an efficient and technical manner.

Tired of witnessing how those responsible of the biggest frauds and scams go unpunished, XNet has taken part in the legal fights, some of which have led to the arrests of the main responsible for the misappropriation of funds in very representative cases in Spain.

Xnet have also encouraged, promoted and stimulated a series of citizen-run initiatives and collectives against corruption, among them the remarkable 15mparato, a citizen group responsible for the lawsuit against Bankia upper echelon, because of the scam this firm has proven to be. Starting from the participation of Xnet members in the collective for the Audition of the Debt, another group was created with the aim of auditing the most widely known banker in Spain.

Find more info here:

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Latest projects:

Facebook: RedX.NetTwitter: @X_net

México Infórmate

México Infórmate works to promote access to public information in Mexico. At the same time, it seeks to generate a national dialogue  involving civil society organizations, governmental organizations and academic institutions on the importance of the right to know.

Its main objectives are:

  • To involve citizens in public affairs and get them to participate, in an informed manner, of decision-making processes and government oversight.
  • To inspire journalists to use the laws of access to information as a critical tool for investigative work.
  • To establish dialogue channels among media, public bodies and the general public, to discuss the importance of the right to know.
  • To promote the role of the culture of transparency in the consolidation of participatory democracy in Mexico.
  • To contribute to the dissemination of the culture of transparency in Mexico and promote the practical use of the laws of access to information as a tool to improve the quality of life for people.

México Infórmate has been involved in the  drafting of a citizens’ legal initiative on transparency (unfortunately, legislators are seeking to negatively modify it, even when they themselves invited civil society to participate).

The organization also trains  journalists on right to information and transparency issues and periodically publishes its own blog in El Universal, one of the major national newspapers.

So far, México Infórmate has published three studies on the Mexican Congress, the Administration of Justice System. More recently, it carried out a study on local Institutes of Transparency, which can be consulted here.

Facebook: México InfórmateTwitter:@MxInformate

Fundación Ciudadana Civio

Fundación Ciudadana Civio (Civio) is a Spanish non-profit organization established in February of 2012.

Its strategy is to increase transparency and accountability through the use of information technologies and data journalism.

Their commitment is to promote transparency and the recognition and democratization of the right to access to information.

Civio’s ultimate goal is to increase citizens’ participation and awareness and to achieve significant cultural and legislative changes fostering a stronger democracy.

Civio’s combine web applications and data journalism to develop innovative digital tools that facilitate access and interpretation of public information.

Through the use of data mining, scraping, analysis and visualization, as well as the generation of quality content, Civio addresses fields such as public budgets, governmental pardons, access to information and conflicts of interest.

Facebook: Fundación Ciudadana Civio  • Twitter: @Civio

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Borde Político A. C. – Borde Jurídico

Founded in 2012,  Borde Político is a NGO created with the purpose of developing digital tools for monitoring the performance of the Mexican Congress.

Through this platform, citizens can better know the work of their representatives and find interactive tools designed to function as simple mechanisms for consulting, displaying or disseminate relevant information related to both Chamber of the Mexican Congress.

Since 2013, through a specialized project named Borde Jurídico, the transparency effort extended to observe the work of the Judiciary Branch.

Its team consists of 13 people, which includes political scientists, designers, lawyers, philosophers and programmers is dedicated to digitize, illustrate and make available, in real time, information generated in the Congress and the Supreme Court. The digital platforms developed by Borde Político aim to encourage citizen contributions and debate to political processes and legislation.

In addition, Borde Político is part of the Opening Parliament Alliance (Mexico) and has established important partnerships to work on matters of open budget and legislative budgets with renowned civil society organizations in Mexico such as Fundar and Métrica Pública.

Twitter: @bordepolitico /@bordejuridicoFacebook: Borde Político, Borde Jurídico • Youtube: Borde Político, Borde Jurídico

Fin al abuso (1st Campaign)

The project measures the amount of money annually stolen and diverted from education in Mexico, and holds a permanent campaign to advertise and display what could have been done in the education field in Mexico with the money that is lost to corruption. Additionally, “Fin al abuso” encourages citizens to join electronic campaigns and take legal action to demand that money spent on education is rightly used.

First campaign

Following up a three years movement named “Where is my teacher?”, Fin al abuso is leading a group of organizations demand for a single, complete and reliable registry of basic education teachers. The obligation to submit such registry was established in the enactment of the Mexican Federal Spending Decrees for 2010, 2011, and 2012; however, it does not exist so far.

Fin al Abuso, has detected (by name) 22,353 people, who are paid an income as teachers or principals, yet are not teaching. These people are the so-called “union commissioners” (UC) teacher union workers whose salaries cost Mexicans at least 1.7 billion pesos every year.

 Mexicanos Primero

“¡Fin al abuso!”  denounced this wrongdoing in 2012 and invited Mexicans to join the demand of more money to be allocated for education and less to be given to the Teachers Union.

The campaign collected signatures at public spaces, universities and forums; and had broad media presence in Mexico City, Tepic, Tijuana, Guadalajara and Monterrey.

In three months 230,240 citizens signed the campaign and 115 NGOs supported the initiative.

With each collected signature a letter demanding public resources to be well used was sent to the President of Mexico, the presidents of the Senate and House of Representatives, and the Ministers of Education and of Finance. If these Union Commissioners are essential to the SNTE (teachers’ union), then they should be paid from union dues deducted from teacher salaries. Those who signed received a reply from the federal authorities.

SEP (Secretariat of Public Education) and the SNTE reacted differing only in regards to the number of UC: SEP reported that there were “only12,704 commissioners whilst the SNTE admitted having over 160,000 commissioners.

In a second conference, Fin al Abuso published a document supported by the National Bar Association of Mexico (Ilustre y Nacional Colegio de Abogados de México) concluding that the payment of UC from the federal treasury is illegal.

 

 Twitter: @Finalabuso    •   YouTube: MexicanosPrimero  • Facebook: FinAlAbuso

Corruption Tour Bus – Corruptour

The Corruption Tour Bus (Corruptour) is a unique and disruptive product, designed to create awareness of the shameless government corruption in Nuevo León, Mexico. The past 10 years have been tragic for this prosperous state that once stood out for its sound business and peaceful environment. However, the last government administrations and political parties have partaken in ridiculous corruption scandals that have resulted in increased violence. Vía Ciudadana, a local movement that promotes independent candidates for 2015 elections, is the author this project.

The Corruptour’s strategy is to take citizens on a ride to eleven city landmarks that represent the major scandals of the past years: over cost state government buildings (Torre Administrativa), the tragic Casino Royale, where 52 innocent people lost their lives in an act of terrorism and no authority has been prosecuted, and City Hall as the actual mayor, Margarita Arellanes has been accused of proselytism, amongst others.

The narrative of the tour includes the names of the government officials involved, amounts of bribes and extortion and a direct call to action to citizens to eradicate and punish all forms of corruption.

With this project, Vía Ciudadana expects to outrage citizens and understand the relation of government corruption with the damage caused to their state. 2015 can be the year of change, the year where honest and hard-working citizens enter government offices and make a transcendental change.

Twitter: @Corruptour Facebook: CorruptourYouTube: ViaCiudadana

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Fight against Corruption in Healthcare System in Montenegro

The Center for Monitoring and Research CeMI, in December 2012, has started the implementation of the project “Fight against Corruption in Healthcare System in Montenegro” which is supported by the German Embassy in Podgorica. This is the first initiative of civil sector to open the question of corruption in the healthcare system in Montenegro, including all interested stakeholders, decision makers, civil society and media.

We believe that corruption in the healthcare system in Montenegro increases the cost of healthcare services, reduces access to healthcare, harm the state budget and patients’ rights in Montenegro. This project has launched a series of activities aimed at detecting the causes, extent and consequences of corruption in the healthcare system in Montenegro, as well as the measures need to be taken to effectively combat this phenomenon

Civil control – a guarantee for transparent and accessible local authority

The project seeks to improve the role of the structures of the civil society in the city of Gabrovo in the formulation of policies and programs at municipal level. Some of the main project activities were: 1. realization of surveys aimed to define the main problems and deficiencies in communication between the local administration and the civil society at large; 2. monitoring activities regarding the work of the administration and development of precise recommendations for improvement; 3. organization and realization of round tables with representatives from the civil society and experts from the municipal administration aimed to encourage the dialogue and partnership between the two target groups; 4. realization of educational seminars regarding the civil control over the work of the administration; 5. realization of a regional information campaign “Civil society organizations – factor for increasing the transparency and accountability of the municipal administration””.; 6. development of precise recommendations for the public administration on how to incorporate good practices and procedures, which will ease the access to information for the citizens and the business and engage the civil society into the decision making process regarding the provision of services of general public interest.”

Typology of the corruption practices in higher education in Bulgaria and a strategy for counteraction

The project aimed to develop a typology of the various forms of corrupt activities in the higher education, to analyze reasons and systems proposals for institutional change. Some of its main activities include: 1. national representative polls of the universities and focus group discussions with the stakeholders in the educational system; 2. Work groups on the social roots of the various types and forms for corruption practices in the higher education; 3. preparation of a final report and recommendations for increasing the transparency in the higher education and combating the corruptive practices.

Mitigation of negative environmental impacts of projects implemented in a frame of foreign aid pledged to Georgia following the August 2008 armed conflict

The project was designed to 1) advocate for envisaging environment protection requirements in the process of implementation of various projects; 2) to support protection of environmental norms while extracting natural resources; 3) monitor legitimacy of issuing authorizations and licenses on environmental impact, construction and natural resources extraction; 4) elaboration/advocacy of alternative ways and mitigation activities; 5) support civil society participation in decision-making process in regard with environmental impacts; 6) protection of socio-economic rights of the potentially affected population.

The civil society and the regional administration in the South-West region – a model for partnership

The project aimed to facilitate the mechanisms for partnership between the structures of the civil society and the local and regional administrations in the South-west region of Bulgaria. The main project goal was: better transparency, more accountability and control over the work of the administration. Some of the project activities included: 1. analyses, development of recommendations and educational seminars; 2. development and maintenance of an information web site; 3. activities for capacity building for monitoring the activities of the local and regional administration; 4. development of recommendations for improvement of the legal framework, strategic documents or public services provided by the targeted administrations; 5. activities for information and publicity.

The non-governmental center for public information access

This is a project with a large territorial scope, encompassing some 400 districts and municipalities. The main goal is to raise the awareness about exercising one’s right to public information. The project intended to show citizens how they can demand such data from uncooperative public offices. Within the framework of the undertaking not only individuals were instructed but also civil society organizations were trained in order to be able later to provide support to citizens. The project also intended to both gather information about cases of information refusals and systematize those instances to be able to draw more general conclusions on the matter. Finally, the public opinion was to be informed about the observance of regulation on the public information access.

Transparency against corruption: the development of the non-governmental center for public information access

This project was run by the Association of Leaders of Local Civic Groups (Stowarzyszenie Liderów Lokalnych Grup Obywatelskich or SLLGO), which itself was created as a result of another project run by the Stefan Batory Foundation. The main goal of the organization is not counteracting the corruption, but aiming at many areas, which contribute to fighting corruption. The main stress the organization puts on transparency of the public life, especially on enhancing awareness of citizens, civic organizations as well as public officials about the their right to public information or duty to provide this information.
• The goal of this project was to prepare civil society organizations, citizens and public administration to making use of their right to public information;
• Raising awareness and knowledge about issues of openness and transparency in public and local administrations and their pivotal role in containing public life pathologies (e.g. corruption);
• Ensuring application of procedures that guarantee openness and transparency in the chosen offices of governmental and local administration.

Youth initiative against corruption in Sliven

The project aimed to change the attitude of young people towards corruption through initiation of anti-corruption course in high-schools in the Sliven region. For the purpose, the project developed a program for anti-corruption education that included group simulations, case resolution in areas such as mediation and lobbying, money laundering, conflict of interests etc. Some of the project outputs included: 1. a sociological survey; 2. a round table with municipal representatives, lawyers, non-profit youth organizations, the civil association Public Barometer and students from the four surveyed schools; 3. development of a three-module training program; 4. a press conference.

Open doors for the citizens of Razgrad

The project’s main goal was the establishment of civic control over local self-government through the institutionalization of a civic defender (ombudsman) in the municipal administration of Razgrad. Some of its main activities included: 1. information board for corruption signals in the office building of the Municipality; 2. realization of a public forum “Civic Defense and Mediation Through the Local Ombudsman Institution””; 3. dissemination of materials / reports of the ombudsman and press conferences.”

Face to face with corruption: institutionalization of the civic defender and public councils to fight corruption at municipal level

The project aimed to shape an adequate public counteraction against all forms of corruption. Advocacy and capacity building for the local Ombudsman institution (Public Mediator) in Banite municipality and multiplication of the experience (best practices) in other municipalities of the Rhodopa region were some of the projects core activities.

Local ombudsman in the Rhodope region municipalities – establishing a best practice model for monitoring, civil control and partnership

The project aimed to establish an efficient civic control on the services provided by local authorities and to guarantee the access of citizens to public services. Some of the project main activities were: 1. building premises for the establishment of local Ombudsman institution in the municipalities of Chepelare, Banite and Nedelino; 2. realization of three round tables with participants from the local authorities on the discussion on the Ombudsman institution; 3. radio broadcast on the topic: “100 answers about corruption””; 4. development of an anti-corruption web site; 5. realization of a closing regional conference regarding the prospects for an efficient work of the local Ombudsman institution.”

Youth against corruption

The main goal of this country-wide undertaking was to enhance social awareness about anti-corruption activities, i.e. promoting discussion about corruption and strengthening anti-corruption behavior among citizens.
• Within the project an e-course was organized targeted at pupils, students, teachers to inform them about anti-corruption and mechanisms of fighting corruption. The course lasted 5 months in 2008 (5 parts all together accomplished by 45 participants).
• 21 local projects have been carried out, which encompassed not only schools but also local communities and some labor groups (e.g. doctors)
• A mini-library of corruption related materials was organized and may be found at www.ceo.org.pl/portal/b_mpk_eplatforma_antykorupcyjna_ebiblioteka_antykorupcyjna or www.wsap.edu.pl/_e_biblioteka.html
• Ethical code of conduct for public officials and teachers was elaborated and discussed
• A conference on the ethical code of conduct of public administration officials was organized (103 participants)