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

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.

Transparency and Civil Participation in Budget Policy of the Self-Governed City of Rustavi

The project was designed to raise public awareness on 2008’s budget of Rustavi in publicly comprehensive language; also to assist interest groups in knowing how to involve into decision-making (media, civil society and youth) and then how to take action with decision-making itself (local government). Program goal: the project aims to encourage transparency, civil participation and enlarged governmental accountability in budget policy. Program objectives:
• Informing interest groups on 2008’s budget of Rustavi;
• Providing platform to 2008’s budget-financed programs for interest groups;
• Improving the civil service agencies of Rustavi self-government;
• Providing skills and knowledge for interest groups and local government on the issues of participation in budget formation process;
• Providing skills and knowledge for local government related with public opinion research and the designs of PR campaign.

Education without corruption

The project aimed to initiate a dialogue between state authorities, academic institutions and civic organizations with the purpose to create basis for fighting corrupt practices in the secondary and higher education in Bulgaria. Some of its main activities included: 1. Publication of a collection of articles outlining the objectives of the project; 2. Four public round table discussions; 3. Discussion forum in Culture newspaper.

Transparency and publicity in the work of the regional and local administrations – a guarantee for honest and good governance

The project aimed to identify and evaluate the possible methods and mechanisms for better transparency and accountability of the public administration. The project activities included: 1. research on the best practices in the field and publicity and dissemination of a guidance book; 2. analyses of the effectiveness of the working processes of targeted institutions and development of precise recommendations for improvement; 3. realization of a national conference with the participation of representatives from the public administration and the civil society sector; 4. development of an web site dedicated to the transparency of the administration.

Increasing the Awareness of Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian public Servants and Journalists about Internal Audit and Political Corruption

The aim of the project was to develop the national integrity system of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania by restraining corruption through the training of public servants and journalists. One part of the project was the dissemination of the principles of good governance and relevant information using Internet.

Assessment of FOIA compliance (2002/2005)

In November 2005 a financing contract was signed for a new project funded by the European Union through Phare program. The project started to be implemented at the end of 2005 and during 2006 we have conducted an evaluation of the respect of transparency laws by public authorities. According to the law each public institution is required to publish an annual report (activity and financial) but the rate of compliance with these procedures reached a feeble 4% of all public bodies (as presented by a quantitative evaluation conducted by the Romanian Government). Following an in-depth research, the project aims to identify best-practice models and to train representatives of the public bodies in how to collect data and to put them together in an annual report which will provide relevant and accurate information to the public.
This project is a follow-up of the advocacy campaign run by SAR in 2000 for the adoption of FOIA. A first assessment of its implementation was carried in 2002 and indicating unsatisfactory compliance with legal provision. For the current project we use the same methodology and sample as in 2002 allowing comparisons.

National Integrity System 2004

The project sought to:
– Undertake a survey regarding the basic state pillars and bring recommendations how to reduce corruption in this institutions;
– Publish the survey in National Integrity System Study in English language;
– Promote results of National Integrity System Study through mass media;
– Stimulate broader public discussion on anti-corruption issues;
– Strength the rule of the law;
– Improve accountability and transparency of the public sector.
Activites of the project included:
– Investigation of the corruption phenomenon on the ground i.e. in 11 basic state pillars (Government, Parliament, Judiciary, Prosecutors, Police,);
– Printing of the National Integrity System Study;
– Media presentation;
– Distribution of the Study.

Prosecution of corruption and other serious economic crimes

The project activities (an analysis) aimed to initiate a debate on usefulness of the introduction of special anti-corruption institutions that were established in Slovakia to the Czech environment. A study “How effective are the Czech and Slovak law enforcement agencies”” was published and a conference on prosecution of corruption in the Czech Republic and Slovakia took place.”

Integrity in education: a study on corruption and ethical principles in high schools

  • Project aim and locale

The project aims to raise awareness regarding the benefits of ethical behavior in high schools, both on the part of teachers and administrative staff, as well as students and parents.

  • Project outcomes

• 8 focus groups with representatives of target groups;

• 4 training courses

• 1 final seminar to disseminate good practices and information on internal complaint mechanisms;

• 1 guide on applying ethical principles and fighting corruption in high schools.

Legislative proposal concerning municipal property

Via Iuris advocated for and helped to draft legislation introducing efficient and transparent criteria (e.g. public announcement, transparent decision-making) concerning the sale of municipal property to individuals. Via Iuris started its project with a complaint filed with the European Commission which then asked the Slovak Government to adopt the necessary legislation. Pressured by the EC, the Ministry of Finance cooperated with Via Iuris in drafting the law. Before the adoption of the law, mayors could sell land to their relatives at a very low price.

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.”

Public Policy Program “Strengthening of Civic Activism in Bosnia & Herzegovina in Electoral and Post-Electoral Processes”””

The basic goal of this project was to build and promote an efficient, transparent and participative process of creating and implementing public policy in BiH through organized action and citizens’ and CSOs advocacy, with the purpose of building a political responsible and consistent authority at all levels of BiH society. During three-years period, planned project activities were implemented in a total of 36 local communities in both of BiH entities. In 2008, project activities were implemented in 15 municipalities in cooperation with local organizations: Velika Kladuša, Donji Vakuf, Trebinje, Rudo, Vlasenica, Modriča, Kalinovik, Bihać, Livno, Bugojno, Goražde, Tuzla, Sarajevo and Doboj.

Implementation of Integrity Pacts in Three Large Construction Projects

The purpose of the grant was to improve transparency and increase efficiency in procuring and constructing three public projects – the National Library, the Acoustic Concert Hall and the Contemporary Arts Museum, all under the responsibility of the Latvian Ministry of Culture. This was to be accomplished through an “Integrity Pact” signed in September 2005 between the Ministry and DELNA.
The grant was expected to result in:
• More transparency in the procurement processes for the three projects resulting in lower project costs.
• An enhanced dialog between the public and private sectors and NGOs on transparency matters
• Anti-corruption policies and guidelines adopted by a number of private companies
• Based on the experiences of these projects improvements in the Latvian legislation and procurement practices.

Transparent District (pilot)

The project was a pilot for the larger project Transparent Poland (’Przejrzysta Polska’). The goal of this first stage was to elaborate, in cooperation with 16 local governments, a model of tasks, which these governments were to implement in order to attain project objectives. The model was later to be scaled up in the following stage, i.e. the massive action. The project set forth six rules, which should be present in the functioning of public offices and officials at the local level. Those were: transparency, citizens participation, no toleration for corruption, professionalism, predictability and accountability. Within the program the participating governments had to fulfill certain solutions/tasks which were related to each of these six rules, e.g. elaboration an ethical code of conduct for public officials and members of local councils, creating a road map of local initiatives, elaborating materials that in an accessible way explain the role and creation of budgets and community’s strategy etc.

Raising Awareness of the Essence of Corruption and Strengthening the Fight Against it in Estonian Society

The aim of the project was to increase the interest of the public in the essence of corruption and to call the relevant state structures for closer cooperation. The researches on the situation of legislation dealing with corruption in the Republic of Estonia were implemented resulting in written analysis. A seminar and conference “Corruption in Estonia”” also took place.”