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

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

xnet

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

Youth Awareness in the Schools

Public opinion surveys conducted by the ACTION Project indicate that Ukrainian youth are among the primary groups victimized by corruption and is a group that voluntarily participates in corrupt activities. In view of this, the Lviv-based NGO, For a Common Future, developed an inte ractive simulation exercise and curriculum for students to make them more aware of the negative costs of corruption and what to do about it.

They worked with to the Lviv State Administration, which ordered that anticorruption classes would be included in the school curriculum on Legal Studies for Grades 9–11 starting in the academic year 2008-2009. Teachers were trained and the course was launched in 1000 out of 1450 schools. Next, the NGO developed a manual for the course, with the involvement of specialists from the Ukraine Ministry of Education and Science. In August 2009, the Commission on Educational Work of the Research and Methodological Council of the Ministry approved the manual and recommended it for use in secondary, vocational, professional and higher education institutions of I-II accreditation levels.

Source: Promoting Citizen Engagement in Combating Corruption in Ukraine (action) USAID Read it here.

Conflicts of interest

In order to reduce political corruption the project aimed at enactment of an effective law on the conflict of interest. TIC proposed a draft law and managed to build a coalition around it, advocate the draft successfuly and push it through; the law went into effect as of January 1, 2007. Media campaign was part of the project.

Integrated strategies for natural resource exploitation

The project aimed at:
– creating a virtual information center for monitoring the exploitation of natural resources in Romania;
– developing local civil society representatives’ capacity to actively participate in the development of regional strategies for the exploitation of natural resources;
– raising awareness among local and central authorities in resource rich areas about the necessity to design local sustainable development strategies for the exploitation of natural resources;
– advocating for transparency and accountability of central authorities’ management of natural resources.

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.

INFO Act of the Year – Competition (formerly: The Biggest Friend and Enemy of Information)

The project was designed as a competition: individuals and organizations could nominate a public institution/government body as positive or negative example for providing information based on the Freedom of Access to Information Act (FOIA); at the end of each year the “winner”” was given an award (http://www.infocin.sk/).”

Corruption – everyone loses

This initiative organized by Stowarzyszenie Instytut Nowych Technologii focused on raising social awareness about the corruption issues and simultaneously endeavored to diminish public acceptance of any form of corruption in the Łódzkie province. The organization applied means to both ridicule corruptive activities as well as spur a discussion about commonness of this phenomenon in Poland. The organizer intended to target different types of audience with this action and encourage reflecting on corruption. To achieve that, a light and fun-related form of the messages was chosen in order to appeal to the target groups.
During the action various measures were applied:
• Surveys of corruption perception in the Łódzkie province (some 750 respondents)
• Public debates devoted to anti-corruption issues, in which well known and popular celebrities (football players) as well as sociologic experts took part
• Workshops on ethical code of conduct for those groups, which were perceived in the survey as having the greatest exposure to corruption i.e. police, public officials, healthcare workers (high turnouts)
• Open space public happenings with an anti-corruption message (some 600 people)
• A family-oriented picnic with games and activities rising awareness of corruption issues (some 300 people)
• Final conference (with low participation rate)

Preventing corruption through education, information and consciousness-raising

The project aimed at increasing anti-corruption awareness through education of the youth, dissemination of anti-corruption information, expansion of sociological basis and awareness-raising on the financing of political parties and campaigns, thus contributing to the development of civil society. The project consisted of four independent but thematically-linked components: 1) preparation of the anti-corruption education course for higher schools; 2) carrying out a long-term TV programme on anti-corruption; 3) using public opinion surveys for improving the anti-corruption measures; 4) round-table discussion on the problems related to the financing of political parties and political campaigns. Intended outcomes: 1) Anti-corruption education introduced into higher school curriculum; 2) Anti-corruption information disseminated through TV on a long-term and regular basis; 3) The public opinion surveys carried out; 4) Round-table discussion on topical issues related to the financing of political parties.

Transparency of political party funding

A small research team from the Institute of Public Affairs (Instytut Spraw Publicznych) carried out an appraisal of financing of the political parties’ electoral campaigns. It was an in house research not related to any public campaign. They focused on official information provided by the parties to a governmental agency responsible for gathering such documents, which the parties are obliged by the law to deliver. Moreover, the team carried out in-depth interviews with or contacted via email/fax (one party and three main governmental controlling bodies) representatives of the political parties.
A project final output was a report on budgetary subsidies to political parties for running their electoral campaigns. The report was released at the press conference and was commented by all the major newspapers and on-line news portals as well as radio and TV news. It included a detailed analysis of a gathered material as well as recommendations aiming at enhancing transparency of the political party funding.
Goals of the project:
• assessment of corruption risks in the political party financing system
• enhancing the transparency of parties’ expenditure of budgetary subsidies
• civil society control of the party financing
• increasing public awareness of party financing system

Bureau of Public Information in Rural Locals

Public services rendered to the rural population in Uzhgorod region were analyzed and mechanisms to protect the receipt of services were developed. Aimed at overcoming the rural population’s lack of knowledge concerning their own rights and corruption challenges, a handbook of services was prepared, published, and distributed among citizens and local self-governments in the region. A number of awareness-raising measures to introduce transparency principles were held in pilot villages.