Technology facilitates the increased risk of embezzlement, bribery, fraud and has allowed forms of corruption-driven crime to flourish even more than before. Conversely, there is a growing consensus on the role technology can play in the fight and prevention of corrupt practices. Governments, citizens and the media are using information technology to improve and check on governance, enhance public service delivery and trust, shape government-citizen-business relations, and reduce corruption. In particular, “big data” and “open data” on governance represent important new sources of information for anti-corruption efforts. Join DCN Global’s September webinar to look at the struggle against corruption in Latin America, through the prism of the digital revolution.
Key points by Ioanna Georgia Eskiadi
In many countries in Latin America, big data is directly correlated with corruption. Corruption erodes democracy worldwide and produces a vicious circle, where it undermines democratic institutions and, in turn, weak institutions are less able to control national corruption. Technology facilitates the increased risk of embezzlement, bribery, fraud and has allowed forms of corruption-driven crime to flourish even more than before. Conversely, there is a growing consensus on the role technology can play in the fight and prevention of corrupt practices. Governments, citizens and the media are using information technology to improve and monitor governance, enhance public service delivery and trust, shape government-citizen-business relations, and reduce corruption. In particular, “big data” and “open data” in governance represent important new sources of information for anti-corruption efforts.
Big data is turning into small data, due to the lack of available information accessible to journalists. It is nearly impossible to get data, as one must go to a police officer directly to ask for files which are never guaranteed, even if they are public records. This creates a new challenge for journalists, finding data. One speaker suggests that it is important to learn html and to find information. Many times, there is a lot of information to dig through but that doesn’t mean that there is data ready to be analyzed, and it does not guarantee that this data is news. The term “data” is used to describe information that is systematized. It is the job of a journalist, or citizen reporter, to turn data in to news. Many times, a journalist will take the data from a government database and regurgitate it to the public, which does not add to the foundation of a story or help a reader understand the data. Journalists must present data with meaningful story behind it, which will often require data journalism. It is a data journalists’ job to find and analyze data and use it to add to the story they are trying to portray. It’s important to emphasize on open data investigation and use data to tell good stories that engage the audience.
One example current example of big data against corruption in Latin America is the use of data journalism to combat the exploitation of women in Mexico City. Data starts with people, the institutions are people, journalists are people. In Mexico City, much of the information which is being transmitted to the public is censored. Analyzing trends of available data can help citizens understand what is going on, especially when a government is trying to censor that information. Transparency is extremely important in the data world. “Open vaccines” is an example of monitoring all the needed information about vaccines. During the Covid-19 pandemic, in Honduras, journalists could keep a track of the expenses of the government and the money spent on the management of Covid-19. Not all misinformation is created equal. Agents of misinformation have diverse motives, but it is our job to create a more transparent environment.
Watch the discussion:
-Ernesto Núñez Chacón, Founder & Director of La Doble Tracción, Costa Rica
-Joan Humberto Suazo, investigative journalist, Honduras
-Kathya Arizbeth Severiano Ruiz, account executive, Weber Shandwick, Mexico
Ernesto Núñez Chacón: If Clark Kent had a son with Madonna that would be Ernie. No super powers or $850 million net worth though... He is as incisive a journalist as Superman’s heat vision, as daring a creative as the Queen of Pop, and with a sense of humor as acid as the reflux that many politicians provoke in him. He is the founder and director ofLa Doble Tracción, a transmedia news outlet that offers a mix of rigorous investigative and data journalism, humor, gamification, and citizen participation. Through formats such as TV game shows, jingles, videogames, parties, remixes, comics, toys.. it has exposed a public university with illegal polluting drains to a river, a local government that spent on worker incentives 16 times its budget on scholarships, congressional candidates who owe up to $470 000 to the social security, hospitals that discriminate against LGBTQ people, and many more exclusive stories... It currently runs an homonymous radio show, a newsroom network for local government accountability corun by citizens calledLos Guachis, and a journalistic quality reviser known asThe WAKALAtector (AKA The S#!t Detector).
Joan Humberto Suazo is an investigative journalist from Honduras, he has revealed at least two major cases of corruption during the Covid-19 pandemic and thanks to his investigation, some of the actors of the wrongdoing were prosecuted. He also works with OSINT, access to public information, video production, migration, data journalism and in all his investigations applies a transversal approach to human rights. He is fond of apps and gadgets, as well as podcasts, movies and television, especially if there are journalists involved.
Kathya Arizbeth Severiano Ruiz is an account executive at Weber Shandwick Mexico, she has worked with media and influencers, studied corporate communication and advertising at Universidad Panamericana. She has participated in courses such as: Media Genius Fellow by Weber Shandwick and recently PR Council Agency Certificate Program by PR Council both in New York. She has worked on researched, tracked and verified online mis and disinformation by First Draft News; She has Facebook certifications in digital marketing and creative impact.
She was director of public relations at Hult Prize Foundation in México City and has been a member of the Digital Communication Network for 1 year. She is currently doing a certification of Management of Fashion and Luxury Companies from Bocconi University and collaborates in a non-profit foundation called Sin trata where they talk about issues of trafficking people and how to combat it.
Aisha Kehoe Down, Investigative Journalist, OCCRP, Jordan
Aisha Kehoe Down is an investigative journalist at OCCRP focused on the tobacco industry, and the links between organized crime, corruption, and large multinational companies. Previously, she worked at The Cambodia Daily and the Ukraine Business Journal.
This event was co-organized by Digital Communication Network Global and World Learning and is part of DCN’s Ideas in Action – Digital Engagement, a series of virtual events launched in the context of the COVID-19 crisis. DCN is supported by the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Citizen Exchanges. Digital Communication Network created in 2015, is a 7.000 member strong collaborative network that connects professionals from a variety of fields and different regions of the world, committed to have an impact in the new information space.