Thermometer on Censorship

Thermometer on Censorship

Organisation: Mè (Spain)

Publication Date: 01/19/2018



Journalists nowadays face many incidents that may prevent them of doing their job with independence: from physical aggression to changes of legislation, from court rulings to censorship. During the political events in Catalonia on fall 2017 we have observed a surge of incidents that might compromise freedom of expression and freedom of information, not only affecting journalists but also all the citizens. But how can we increase social awareness about the need to protect these basic fundamental rights? Since 2015, Mè has reported on and analyzed all kind of possible restrictions to freedom of expression affecting journalism work in Catalonia and Spain. This makes up a lot of complex information that is now disseminated in different maps, but not systematized on a database. How can we show which is the health of freedom of expression in our country in an understandable way? How can we share all the complex information we have gathered during years so other journalists or activists can search on it and use it? The answer is what we call “Thermometer on Censorship”, a tool that shows the level of alert that our country suffers at current time, with a number between 0 and 5 and a color. This level of alert is calculated with an algorithm that takes into account to the quantity and severity of incidents collected in the last 30 days. The webpage will also show other information of the database from more simple to more complex. It will show the three most recent entries in the database, in an attractive news format and categorising them according to the kind of incident (aggression, court ruling, censorship, etc). Below, there will be different kinds of graphics shown. By default, the graphics will show the same period of time that the thermometer takes to establish the index (the 30 days before the last Friday). Users will be able to filter the period of time shown to see other results. The graphics will be: - A chart line that shows the temporal evolution of the number of incidents entries. When the user touches the line, different lines with all categories are displayed. - A chart of circles, where each element identifies the type of possible violation of the freedom of information or expression and the size is proportional to the number of incidents in that category. - A map that shows the places where the incidents took place. There will also be a search engine that lets users filter and obtain results for any of the categories in the database, and export this information in Excel format or graphic representations.

Technologies used for this project:

To build the database: Google Spreadsheet, which lets us updating information from the mobile phone easily, back up and connect with a tool for viewing the information for the web that we will create. To view the information: • A website, on the Mè server, built with HTML and CSS by an external programmer • The HightCharts tool, to view the information in the database on this website: • The help of an expert to create the algorithm that will calculate the thermometer index. The data can be extracted from Google Spreadsheet, because at each entry we will have given a severity score.
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