Cartografías de la Información

Cartografías de la Información

Organisation: Foundation for Press Freedom - FLIP (Colombia)

Publication Date: 04/10/2017


Size of team/newsroom:small


Since July 2015, the Foundation for Press Freedom (FLIP) has begun the research project 'Cartografías de la Información', which seeks to make a diagnosis of the media in different regions that have been scenarios of the armed conflict in Colombia. What has been observed is disappointing: from one city to another it is common to find journalists who have lost their breath in searching news, in the regions there are several stories about the media that have closed and it is easy to point on the map dozens of regions, towns and cities where there is no local news. This panorama, dramatic for both democracy and the strengthening of communities, is part of the conclusions of ‘Cartografías de la Información’. In the first stage, this work has characterized 556 media, in 257 municipalities of 11 departments and in the sub-regions of Bajo Cauca in Antioquia and Catatumbo in Norte de Santander. The partial result of this project indicates that 3.011.091 people live in places where there is no media that produce local news. Also, that more than half of the municipalities are silenced zones. In Chocó and Catatumbo, more than 50% of its inhabitants do not have access to local information. In Vichada that percentage is 78%. The project explores the impact of the militarization of radio, which in the last two decades has been used as a weapon of war against the guerrillas and other armed actors. Of the 556 media, there are 48 radio that belong to the Public Force. The paradox of having a robust and powerful system of Public Force media and the precariousness of civil public media can be explained by the lack of interest of the State in generating quality content and strengthening the public media system. The need to keep the population informed about aspects relevant to their community has been left aside. The media map in conflict zones sends a clear message: first war, information for citizens is not a priority. The Colombian media ecosystem is severely affected. 'Cartografías de la Información' presents alarming findings and data, and confirms many of the problems that journalists and organizations have denounced for decades: official advertising is used as a tool for blackmail; the economic pressures of politicians and other public forces condition the content of the media; most community media are economically asphyxiated; and there are holes in the regulations of official advertising and community media. The principal audience of the project are journalists. However, it aims to reach public officials of the following entities: Court for Peace, Prosecutor’s Office, Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Special Jurisdiction for Peace, High Commissioner for Peace, Ministry of Information Technologies and Communications, Ministry of Interior, ANTV, and Governments of the departments that are part of the research. The project has been financed by international cooperation from the Swedish-Norwegian Fund.

What makes this project innovative? What was its impact?

The diagnosis offered by Cartografías de la Información about information provision, press freedom and regional conditions seeks to be an input for public policies to implement the Peace Agreement regarding the media. The zones of the research are areas where the armed conflict has historically been stronger and where the war against journalists has been greater. This in order to provide the National Government with an in-depth analysis that allows to characterize the type of journalism that is done in those zones, and be a tool for the necessary adjustments that the Peace Agreement proposes. It is the first time that an investigation with this level of detail is done. In Colombia, the main cities are well connected, but the rest of the country is totally isolated. There is no national register on the number of media, nor a diagnosis of the information supply, and this allows Cartografías de la Información to be fundamental to begin to change these difficult conditions of the media and journalists in the country. It is an innovative project as the web platform can be constantly updated with information on the universe of media, type of property, coverage of the media, Internet, available frequencies and working conditions of the journalists in these areas. Online forms are intended for people to make comments or precisions on the information displayed, and after a verification process, the changes are shown on the platform. In addition, no free tools have been used to display the maps, as they were a designed by a professional cartographer. Cartografías de la Información has been adapted to have, on the one hand, a desktop version where a more complete navigation can be made and people can interact with the maps and, on the other hand, a mobile version where the results are presented through infographics and stories to make it more agile and useful.

Technologies used for this project:

It is developed in php and Drupal 7 and used programming languages html5 and jquery. Also, consultation of web services technologies has been used for the graphics and one of the maps via json files. Other maps have been designed by a cartographer.


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