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Tu Parlamento: Italy Launches Platform to Give Citizens a Digital Seat in Parliament

BY Rebecca Chao | Thursday, June 27 2013

The platform aims to get citizens more involved in policy making (image: tuparlamento.it)

Last week, without much fanfare or publicity, 15 members of the Italian Parliament launched Tu Parlamento, a Liquid Feedback platform that allows Italian citizens to comment on proposed bills. it is an initiative led by Laura Puppato, a senator of the Democratic Party. Read More

WeGov

A Plug & Play Anti-Corruption Tool for All

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, June 24 2013

Poderopedia at work: mapping connections

The Chilean anti-corruption project Poderopedia launched a free, open source version of their web platform last Friday. Plug & Play 1.0 can be used to make searchable databases and visualizations of politicians and their associates and associations or follow the flow of money from foundation to project, or public donor to candidate, etc. The Poderopedia blog also suggests someone “map links between NSA, Prism and Silicon Valley” or “create a NPApedia, Baseballpedia or Soccerpedia.”

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A “Fix-Rate” for Corruption: Integrity Action Wins the Google Global Impact Award

BY Rebecca Chao | Friday, June 14 2013

“From wanachi (“citizen”) to up there,” Emmanuel Dzombo explains with an upward sweep of his hand, is how Integrity Action has begun to reverse the bureaucratic top-down approach that has often blocked development work in Kenya. Dzombo is a local leader in Chengoni, Kenya, a country that ranks towards the very bottom of Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index – at 139. The organization believes it could do more, and Google.org seems to agree. The Google Impact Challenge will provide the charity with £500,000 that will allow it to develop a mobile application for tracking and collecting data from citizens. Read More

WeGov

New Anti-Corruption Initiative a First in Czech Republic

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, May 31 2013

Pavel Franc and others wearing symbolic hard hats (Flickr with permission)

For the first time in the Czech Republic, a group of NGOs have banded together to support nine important anti-corruption measures. They are asking Czech citizens – again, for the first time – to write to their representative Members of Parliament (MPs) and ask them to pledge support for specific anti-corruption legislation. The campaign Rekonstrukce Státu, or the Reconstruction of State, holds MPs responsible for their pledges by posting their positions on the campaign website. One of the demands has already been made into law.

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WeGov

Chilean Anti-Corruption Resource: A Crowdsourced Database of Social and Political Connections

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, May 17 2013

Screenshot from the Esto es Poderopedia video via Vimeo

In countries where a small minority of social circles have a majority of the political and economic power, personal relationships can affect major decision-making, a serious concern of anti-corruption activists. A new web platform stores personal profiles of key players in Chilean business and politics, complete with biographies and personal and professional connections through family, education, social circles, employers and coworkers, to make tracking social relationships and conflict-of-interest easier. Called Poderopedia (from the Spanish word for power), the project sounds kind of like LinkedIn, but the creation and management of profiles is being crowdsourced out to journalists, activists and concerned citizens.

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In South Africa, Organizers Combine Old and New Media to Take on Corruption

BY Anna Therese Day | Monday, May 6 2013

Screenshot from anti-corruption campaign video.

Civil society organizers engage South Africans in the fight against corruption by employing both an old and new media awareness strategy about the gravity of this issue. Read More

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Russian Anti-Corruption Activist, Blogger Aleksei Navalny on Trial for Corruption

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, April 22 2013

Aleksei Navalny ( MItya Aleshkovskiy)

In four years Aleksei Navalny went from being an unknown adviser to a provincial governor to “the Kremlin’s public enemy No.1” and the center of an embezzlement trial. Through his LiveJournal blog and Twitter account Navalny exposed evidence of corruption in the United Russia party and became not only a popular activist but a prominent political opposition leader as well. If convicted – and Russia has a 99 percent conviction rate – he faces ten years in prison and, as a convict, he would be prevented from running for office. In an op-ed for the New York Times, Bill Keller called it “the most important political trial in Russian in decades.”

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On Social Media, Chinese Citizens Challenge Officials to Swim in Polluted Rivers

BY Julia Wetherell | Thursday, February 21 2013

A riverbank in Puning, China (Wikimedia Commons).

When the smog crisis in China escalated last month, even the tight-lipped state media broke down and joined the widespread complaints across social media that the government wasn't doing enough to curb industrial pollution.  A month later, netizens are mobilizing again; and this time they are directly confronting state officials about the country’s thousands of polluted waterways.  

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In Slovakia, Student Developers Open Up the Court System

BY Julia Wetherell | Thursday, February 21 2013

Screengrab from otvorenesudy.sk, showing a prototype of the dataset.

When two Slovak computer science students couldn’t easily access the information they were looking for about court decisions on the Department of Justice website, they built a solution that made their search easier.  The dataset they created from information about 400,000 rulings since 1997 could be a model for open government practices in eastern Europe. 

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Spaniards Demand Prime Minister's Resignation with Change.org Petition

BY Antonella Napolitano | Wednesday, February 20 2013

The Barcenas documents published by El País, as displayed on the Change.org petition.

"I demand the immediate resignation of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and the calling of elections, as well as the resignation of any member of the People's Party named in the documents who holds office publicly or in the party." That's not an opposition leader speaking but more than a million Spanish citizens who signed a petition on Change.org as a reaction to an unprecedented corruption scandal involving the highest ranks of the government. Read More