Organisation: Convoca (Peru)
Publication Date: 04/11/2017
Size of team/newsroom:small
DescriptionPatrimonio SA is a digital platform of investigative journalism, analysis and visualization of data that for the first time allowed in Peru that the citizens can follow the money route of the 130 Peruvian parliamentarians from the acquisition of their properties in the last five years until the Growth of their businesses or that of their families by means of norms approved or produced by themselves for the benefit of their own or the financiers of their electoral campaigns as an exchange of favors. Patrimonio SA seeks to answer the following question from the politicians of one of the powers of the State marked by cases of corruption in Peru: did the congressmen come to power to serve the citizens or to enrich themselves? The project developed over almost three years because after repeated requests for information to the Contraloría General de la República Office, this institution handed over the affidavits of income and property of the members only two years later and in JPG format which made it impossible to pass the information through an OCR program. However, we were the only news media that had managed to obtain this information with all the detailed properties of the legislators and we decided to join professional journalists, students from four universities of the country and programmers to build this unpublished database and put it at the service of citizens. Simultaneously we worked on verifying information with many sources for journalistic research and worked on web development which included a news application with the evolution of the patrimony of the legislators called The Political Tracker (EL rastreador político). Despite the threats of several congressmen and the resistance of the Contraloría General de la República to collaborate, Convoca published Patrimonio S.A. In full campaign of the presidential elections and the Peruvian Congress 2016 in which more than 50% of the parliamentarians applied for re-election, we allowed the citizens to know better the candidates to the Congress and the politicians who played an important role in the campaign of its political groups, as Joaquín Ramírez of Fuerza Popular political group, led by presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori, daughter of Peruvian former president Alberto Fujimori, imprisoned for corruption and leading the preference polls. Ramirez was one of the congressmen who did not declare all his properties and used Congress to benefit. It is investigated by money laundering and the DEA. We also published other investigations as the Ramírez case.
What makes this project innovative? What was its impact?Patrimonio SA represents a reference project in investigative journalism in Peru and Latin America for the persistent use of requests for information to the State, construction of a solid methodology for the verification of public information, multidisciplinary work (journalists, data analysts and Programmers), the generation of alliances with the media, civil society organizations and journalists from other regions of the country and the development of a training program for new talents in journalism.These factors allowed us to reach different audiences and more than 9 million readers, 30% of Peruvians, at a crucial moment for the country: the presidential and legislative elections in Peru in 2016.We are the only team of journalists in Peru that has built a database with the number of detailed properties, income and business of the 130 congressmen of Peru in the last 5 years to put it at the service of citizens after identifying false data, contrasting it with reality and crossing of thousands of public data.It was very important to verify the information and expose inconsistencies and false data because officially sworn statements constitute a weapon to combat corruption from the state. We are facing pressures from politicians who did not want the information to be made public in the middle of the election campaign for fear of not being elected. Because of this, being an independent digital media, Convoca formed alliances with other organizations such as Proética, a leading NGO on issues of transparency and fight against corruption, and published in alliance with newspaper La República and the RPP Group that has the most tuned radio in Peru.In order to build the database, we did a training program for young students of journalism who joined the team, we also worked with journalists from the interior regions of Peru to share information of the congressmen who ran for reelection.This project contributed to access to the quality information that all citizens deserve.
Technologies used for this project:For the development of the platform and tool we used the programming language HTML5 and PHP. A SQL tool was used to load the data.
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