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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The school of watchdog initiatives II

This was a 2008 continuation of the previous year project run by the Association of Leaders of Local Civic Groups (SLLGO), with similar objectives, i.e. not only enhance citizens’ awareness of their right to public information, but also increase a number of civic watchdog organizations and initiatives at the local level that attempt to improve local governance and attain more transparent public life without corruption and other pathologies. SLLGO’s goal is to create a country-wide watchdog movement, and the Association intended to provide theoretical knowledge, practical know-how and mutual learning opportunities to organizations and individuals willing to develop watchdog initiatives in their regions in order to increase their confidence, efficiency and effectiveness of their activities.

Anti-corruption measures in Riga City Council – community participation in reducing corruption

Main aim: promote anti-corruption measures in the Riga municipality and provide for public participation. Delna attended the Riga City Council meeting of the Commission Against Corruption, prepared a draft municipal code of ethics, suggested reorganization plan for the Urban Development Department. The project also carried out a broader study of the corruption structural risks in the three departments of the Riga City Council – City Development Department, Welfare Department and the Property Department. A survey on civil servant’s views on anti-corruption measures was carried out. Before 2008 elections a public debate was organized were candidates were invited to present their plans to reduce corruption in Riga.

Dirty hands disease

Choroba brudnych rąk (Dirty hands disease) was an anti-corruption campaign initiated in 2004 and targeted at Warsaw. It consisted of displaying billboards and citylight posters with anti-corruption slogans and the logo of the program.

Promoting transparency in election campaign financing in Bulgaria

The primary goal of the project was to promote integrity in political financing and to increase the level of integrity of the democratic process in general. By implementing the project objectives TI-Bulgaria aimed to propose a comprehensive approach, including new forms of promoting transparency in political life through the implementation of a new mechanism for monitoring political financing – the Integrity Pact concept. Other specific objectives included the promotion of an effective dialogue between civil society and political actors for the mechanisms and standards of a transparent political financing process.

Don’t give, don’t take bribes

An overall program name, in reality it consists of different separate projects/campaigns. The main goal of the ‘Don’t give, don’t take bribes’ program was to raise awareness among the citizens that ‘petty corruption’, e.g. bribes to a road police, small gifts to doctors, bribes to ticket controlling services etc., is also corruption. It also attempted to change the perception that corruption is only a part of big business and draw attention to the fact that also regular people do encounter it and may act against this harmful phenomenon. The project aimed to create a positive campaign to show that one can say ‘no’ to corruptive activities and that indeed there are regular people, who do act against corruption. This undertaking also intended to reveal to people that any corruption undermines healthy functioning of the state and of every institution functioning within it.
The project was invented and run predominantly by two organizations: Ruch Normalne Państwo (Regular State Movement) and Stowarzyszenie Komunikacji Marketingowej SAR. The former organization is a voluntary civil society organization to which people donate their time and effort. They managed to find a large number of sponsors and thanks to that develop a country wide campaign in 2006, which lasted 3 months and was supported by multiple media (press, radio, TV). According to one of news articles the market value of the campaign in 2006 was ca. EUR 370.000!
The project had different editions starting with a single city campaign (in 2004 in Warsaw). Later on it pick up speed and scaled up onto the whole country. During annually organized ‘day without a bribe’ various happenings and actions take place across the whole country. Local NGOs and civil society organizations participate in them. Badges with campaign main slogan are distributed, as well as bumper stickers. Also envelopes are publicly burned to symbolize fight with corruption. Anti-corruption media campaigns ran for 2-3 months a year between 2006-2008. They included, besides already mentioned actions, TV and radio spots, billboard and citylight posters and running an internet website (www.niedajelapowek.pl).

Promoting transparency in the financing of political parties in Bulgaria I

The aim of the project is to increase the public awareness regarding the transparency of the political parties’ financing in the country through: 1. Realization of educational seminars and workshops; 2. Development of practical guidelines aimed at increasing the transparency in the financing of the political parties in the country; 3. Development and publication of a special TI index on the matter.

Youth Against Corruption (Jaunimas pries korupcija)

Objectives

The aim of this project was to educate the younger generation (future citizens of European Union) in the sense of awareness in the sphere of corruption, so that a new generation cherishing the moral values, following the civilized patterns of behavior – both on a personal and official level- could be brought up.

Beneficiaries in Lithuania

  • 3 000 direct beneficiaries.  High school and university students, members of debate clubs.
  • 20 000 indirect beneficiaries.  Members of local communities (other school and university students, teachers, parents, friends, officials of various local governmental institutions), members of national governmental institutions (Parliament, ministries).

Main activities

  • Teacher training seminar – outcome: a developed anti-corruption curriculum meant for working with students in clubs (3 days, 40 participants).
  • Public introduction of the proposed curriculum in local communities and show debates
  • Public debates, round table discussions at local communities, local and national governmental institutions were carried out  throughout the year.
  • Debate tournaments on corruption related issues 2 national (350 participants).
  • Topics: “Punishment for Bribery Should be Made More Strict”; “Anti-corruption Education should be Introduced into School Curriculum”.
  • Organizing “The best anti-corruption poster and slogan” competition and publishing of the calendar “Youth Against Corruption 2003” with best posters and slogans.
  • Organizing anti-corruption campaigns in all 17 cities and towns, giving anti-corruption calendars as gifts to all Members of Parliament, local and national authorities.
  • Anti-corruption Youth Forum (Druskininkai, June 20 – 30th, 2003).
  • Topic: “EU should introduce anti-corruption policy in its member states” ( 340 participants )
  • Compiling data of the project, evaluating results, preparing materials for publications, disseminating the publications and other outputs (August 2003).
  • Follow-up activity: International Anti-corruption Youth Forum (Druskininkai , September 2003). Participants from Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, Belarus, Moldova and Kazakhstan
  • Presentation of Anti-Corruption Action Plan at the Parliament. (September 2003).

Results

  • Increased awareness of the problem of corruption and active involvement of young people into the activities of anti-corruption campaign all over Lithuania.
  • Comparative analysis and evaluation of the results of the questionnaires filled in by young people before the beginning of the project and at the end of it.
  • Compiled materials, which will be ready for dissemination in other schools and local communities of Lithuania;
  • Cooperation with other organizations dealing with corruption in the country (Special Investigation Service, Transparency International, Lithuania Chapter).
  • Cooperation and a joint activity (“International Anticorruption Youth Forum”) with the young people from other countries (Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, Belorus, Moldova and Kazakhstan).
  • Creation of a charter “Youth Against Corruption” and presentation of it to the department in Parliament dealing with corruption.

Budget

65.970,11 EUR

Donors

Open Society Fund-Lithuania, Ministry of Education and Science of the RL, The Kazickas Family Foundation, International Debate Education Association (IDEA), Democracy Commission, US Embassy U.S. Embassy, Baltic American Partnership Program, East-East Program Open Society Fund-Lithuania, Council of Europe Information Centre, British Embassy

Read the report here.

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.

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

Act on Free Access to Information

A law on free access to information that is a powerful tool for corruption control and watchdog activities has been absent in the Czech legal framework for quite a long time; this project contributed to the successful culmination of the efforts to bring it into life. The seminar was widely inclusive, convening the representatives of the civil society, deputies, journalists and civil servants. The printed outcome of the seminar was distributed to the members of Chamber of Deputies before the vote. The advocacy part and media campaign implemented by TIC targeted three main groups – deputies and senators, journalist and young people. The message was simple – allow for free access to information. Tools like free postcards with a motto “Get informed by your deputy or senator when they allow you to access the information” were used. TIC issued around 10.000 postcards and sent them to all legislators and important journalists; the postcards were also distributed freely by a chain of cinemas, cafes and restaurants. The main message of the campaign was modified and extended for each of the target groups (via press releases, letters or info brochures). The campaign managed to get the deputies and senators under pressure and made some of them to make a public commitment to support the law (43 out of the 200 deputies made the public commitment they would vote for the law). An individual approach to each and every deputy and senator proved efficient; it allowed for expression of their personal opinions and for media coverage. There was also an important role of journalist who were not only transmitting the message but took active part in the campaign. TIC supplied media actively with additional info on how the law works in different European countries or delivered the statements of the involved Czech deputies. The law was adopted in spring 1999 and went into effect as of January 2000.

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.