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

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.

Policy Forum

The Anti-Corruption Policy Forum is a high profile public event for anti-corruption initiatives, supporting the efforts of the civil society and public institutions in the fight against corruption. The Policy Forum convenes once a year to review the results of the preceding period, and to provide guidelines for the work over the next year. Members of the Policy Forum are prominent public personalities with established integrity and reputation as well as representatives of public and private institutions. The main purpose of the Forum is to discuss the annual Corruption Assessment Report of the Center for the Study of Democracy.

The Transparency of European Funds in Romania

The project aims to:
– Make the EU funding process more transparent;
– Make the management institution responsible for the funding process more accountable;
– Raise the level of citizens’ involvement in the EU funding process.
Partners in the Group are: Media Monitoring Agency, Romanian Training Institute, Romanian Centre for Investigative Journalism, Partners for Local Development Foundation, the Association for the Promotion and Protection of Freedom of Speech, OSI, Pro Democracy Association

Limitation of corruption and conflict of interest in the area of state incentives for foreign investments

The project aimed at increasing transparency of relations between the public administration and the foreign corporate investors via conflict of interests monitoring.

The organization became an active player within different administrative processes related to corporate investments in different parts of the country. Strategies towards big corporate business were developed, monitoring of decisions on state incentives for foreign investors was in place.

An important achievement was the Declaration of Understanding concluded with Hunday Motor Manufacturing, company that was preparing a big investment in Moravia.

The coalition of NGOs advocated the declaration that was co-signed by the representatives of the regional authorities and the Czech Invest agency and Ministry of Trade and Industry. The issue got extensive media coverage.

 

Read more about the Environmental Law Service initiatives on anti-corruption here (English).

Promoting Transparency and Accountability in Southern Kosovo

The project aimed to promote effective local government and increase citizen participation in decision-making processes. INPO monitored local government institutions in southern Kosovo, published and distributed monitoring reports, promoted public access to information, and facilitated communication between citizens and elected officials at all government levels.

Transparent County Councils!?

The project aims to: 1. assess and improve the current state of affairs regarding performance reporting practices of Romanian county level political decision makers; 2. enhance policy-learning among local decision makers in performance reporting and the publishing of assessment results; 3. showcase best practice in performance reporting and directly target political decision makers with assessment results and recommendations on how to improve their performance reports; 4. raise public awareness on performance reporting practices of political decision makers.

Advocacy, Implementation and Evaluation of the National Integrity System, with Particular Focus on the Privatizations of Strategical Enterprises in BH

The aim of the project was the adoption of the document “Improvement of the National Integrity System-Proposal for Anti-corruption Strategy in Bosnia and Herzegovina“ supported by the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which has authority to provide measures of this document and monitoring full scale of improvement mentioned measures. The focused particularly on the privatizations of strategical enterprises in Bosnia and Herzegovina and another form of private investment, monitoring public company in strategically areas, comprehension with civil partnership organizations and media. All mentioned partnership organization must have access to current process in their community that would bring transparent process of privatization in accordance with the law and world’s best practice.
PROJECT ACTIVITIES: Improvement of the National Integrity System – Proposal for Anti-corruption Strategy in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Analysis legislation in field of privatization and alignment with international standards and best practice
Monitoring and reporting individual cases of privatization
Cooperation and networking with partnership organizations
Preparing recommendations using best practice

Reform of the Prosecution Office of the Republic of Bulgaria

The aim of the project was to increase the effectiveness of the institutional cooperation in the fight against corruption, to ease the transfer of know-how in the field as well as to increase the institutional capacity and authority of the National Prosecution Office. The outputs of the project are: 1. realization of several conferences and educational workshops for the National Prosecution Office experts with the participation of experts from the civil society sector as well as representatives of the prosecution offices of different EU countries; 2. realization of a sociological survey regarding the public perception over the work of the prosecution office as well as a training seminars for the PR department of the institution; 3. publications of the results and recommendations of the project.

The Majoritarian Project: Informed Citizens and Accountable Government

TI Georgia’s project “Informed Citizens and Accountable Government”” strove to foster communication between majoritarian parliamentarians and their constituencies and promote public awareness of and input into the legislative process. To achieve these goals, TI Georgia, in cooperation with majoritarian MPs and their district office (bureau) representatives, conducted public meetings in three-month cycles in 57 districts in Georgia. At these meetings citizens received information about parliamentary developments over the last three months and its future plans. They also had the opportunity to inform their majoritarian MPs about their main concerns at the local level and share with him/her their opinions about Parliament’s work. As part of the project, TI Georgia also assessed majoritarian bureaus and administrative barriers to their work and conducted trainings for bureau staff to increase their competence.”

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 secrets of municipal property management

The project aimed at increasing the transparency in the work of the municipal administrations in the country through monitoring and analyses of the practices in the municipal property’s management process, privatization, restitution and public procurement. Some of the main project activities include: 1. development and dissemination of information brochures on the topics: “Citizens and local authority – administrative service”” and “”The poverty – national problem connected with corruption””; 2. nomination and price award for the best anti-corruption innovation practice in local government based on the conducted analyses; 3. realization of practical seminars for citizens and experts from the municipalities; 4. regular press conferences presenting the accumulated information.”

Pedagogical model for anti-corruption education in secondary schools

The project aimed at introducing anti-corruption education in the secondary schools trough the elaboration of an applied pedagogical model with the participation of teachers, pupils and parents. Some of its expected results were:

  • Analysis of corruption in the secondary education, review of the international experience in civil education;
  • Teaching syllabus and programs;
  • Methodological manual for teachers;
  • Training seminar with teachers;
  • Pilot model approbation;
  • Information and media campaign

Results

 

January 2004

The project was launched  as the project team consisting of experts and an administrative assistant was made up and they took to performing the scheduled activities.

February-March 2004

An empirical sociological survey was conducted among secondary school students, teachers and parents from Sofia. Its findings were crucial for the project’s goal since the particular corruption practices, attitudes and perceptions could be incorporated into civil and anti-corruption curricula. The sample covered 193 students, 128 parents and 129 teachers.The surveyed units were defined through a two-stage cluster sample. This sample was representative for the groups surveyed (secondary school students, parents and teachers) from the city of Sofia.

On 27 February, 2004 a press conference informing about the launch of the project was delivered at the press club of the Sofia Press Agency. It was attended by representatives of partner organizations and reporters from over ten media.

March-April 2004

A series of working meetings were held with the managing staff and boards of trustees of the two schools where the core part of the project was to be carried out: 135th Secondary General School Jan Amos Komenski and the National Secondary School of Trade and Banking. The meetings served to negotiate the project activity schedule, the responsibilities of the parties, and the manner of communication in the course of the project. Teachers that were to take part in the project were also selected.

May 2004

The sociological survey findings were processed. The statistics received was rather valuable in terms of the implications it had for the education process in the following project stages. The data drawn from the interviews complemented the information gathered in the two focus groups from the first trimester which featured 17 randomly selected secondary school teachers. The main causes of secondary school corruption as defined with the help of these two tools were:

• the general crisis of values in society;

• the crisis of family relations and family upbringing;

• the lack of basic material comfort and education facilities at schools;

• teacher underpayment;

• the sense of impunity;

• the lack of effective anti-corruption actions on the part of the public authorities (especially the judiciary);

• the public schools funding system which lags far behind modern requirements;

• the fuzzy rules on private tutoring by public school teachers;

• violations in the entrance competitions at top-rating secondary schools.

June-August 2004

Anti-corruption syllabi and curricula were developed consisting of separate modules fairly independent in contents. These modules were roughly based on the Anti-Corruption Manual previously developed by Coalition 2000. Model lesson plans were prepared for teachers to use during the try-out phase of the curricula. These included elements such as projects, role plays, group work, and a number of extracurricular and out-of-school activities. They involved an interdisciplinary approach with the possibility of using the plans in various academic subjects as well in special lessons in the weekly class-focused sessions.

November 2004

One of the project’s main lines of activity was teacher training aimed at enhancing teachers’ skills in civic education and anti-corruption. Their first training seminar was held on 12 -13 November 2004 at the Secondary School of Trade and Banking. It was attended by 30 teachers from the two target schools including their principals. The seminar was devoted to Methodology of Anti-Corruption Education Instruction.

On 26 November, 2004 the sequel of the on-site teacher training was held at the other participating school 135th School Jan Amos Komenski at which fourteen more teachers were trained. Among the training’s main topics were:

• civic education in EU countries;
• planning the education process;
• the essay as a testing tool.

January 2005

On 29-30 January 2005, at its closing conference the project team announced its secondary school corruption survey findings from the study it conducted in the two Sofia-based schools in 2004. The organizers also presented an electronic manual containing methodological hints, model curricula and teaching aids for possible anti-corruption courses at secondary schools. Its main highlights are:

• details about the Elisaveta Klark and Penka Kasabova Association;
• review of the project’s theoretical background;
• teacher training within the project;
• presentation of survey findings;
• foreign experience in civil education;
• modern approaches to education planning (model syllabi, lesson plans, etc.);
• innovative teaching methods;
• contemporary methods for student evaluation.

Source: http://www.anticorruption.bg/acartShow.php?id=6005

Free access to information of public interest is a right, not a privilege

The project aims at contributing, through watchdog and advocacy activities, to a better and a more uniform implementation of transparency and accountability principles in Romania. Specific objectives: • Building local capacity of civil society in using proper advocacy tools for holding public authorities accountable for granting free access to information. • Raising awareness of public authorities on the duty to provide unrestricted, non-discriminatory access to information for all categories of solicitors, regardless the subject matter of the request or the type of institution.