Organisation: Convoca (Peru)

Publication Date: 04/11/2016


Size of team/newsroom:small


"Excesses unpunished" ("Excesos sin Castigo", in Spanish) is an investigative series developed by Convoca from the construction and analysis of the first database regarding the environmental obligations of the mining and oil industry in Peru. The reports, interactive tools and e-book of this project reveal sistematically for the first time the situation of the environmental supervision and the behavior of extractive industries that have an important weight in the Peruvian economy and a huge impact in the life of the population in the highlands and the Amazon. More of the 50% of social conflicts in Peru are produced around these economical activities which are developed in territories with high levels of poverty. Peru is an essentially mining country: the fifth producer of gold in the world, the second of silver, the third of copper and zinc, and the fourth of lead. As such, it allows a high profitability to the companies: just twelve companies accomplished to generate about $ 57, 000 million of net utilities between 2008 and 2014, which is 20% higher than the public budget for more than 30 million of Peruvians in 2015. In spite of that and as a part of a package that wanted to reactivate the Peruvian economy, the Government approved the Law N° 30230 which made possible to forgive and reduce fines to the companies that committed environmental infractions. Convoca accomplished to establish that in the first eight months since the law was applied, the State resigned to charge the mining and oil companies almost S/. 55 million. But the investigation didn’t focus only on the sanction procedures, but also on what the State didn't do and preferred to hide in the middle of conflict of interests of public workers and representatives of companies that come and go from one side to the other. Convoca discovered more than one thousand reports of environmental supervision in the hydrocarbon and electric sectors that were enclosed in the last decade by three governments. These documents were transformed in a database to identify those responsible, the companies that were benefited and the people in the territories affected. Team members include: Aramís Castro, Esteban Valle-Riestra, Gabriela Flores, Melanie Betetta and Víctor Anaya

What makes this project innovative? What was its impact?

It is innovative because it’s the first time that an investigative series it’s developed from the crossing and data analysis that uncovers the behavior of extractive industries in Peru and its impact on people’s lives. This unpublished journalistic project combines the best of journalism and technology to serve the citizens not only from the cities but also from the rural zones of Peru. In a country in which the private inversion it’s incentivized without considering the social impact (environmental and health) of their activities, the work with data and the constant reporting represent a milestone for various public benefit: the citizens can exercise an effective surveillance on the impact of their rivers, lagoons and territories from which they depend, the authorities of the supervision organisms can enhance public policies and improve their mechanisms of control in benefit of the population and journalists can access to systemized information, analyzed and independent with the purpose of making possible they can build their own stories. The work was focus in the democratization of information not only for Lima but also for regions within Peru from reportages and web applications: the 80% of the users of the map of environmental infractions are precisely from the regions affected by these activities and between them appear indigenous leaders from the Andes and the Amazon. Because of this reason, to reach national diffusion in places in where the access to Internet was an obstacle, it was established an alliance with the second most important newspaper of the country, La Republica, so the reportages could be widely spread in their editions and various covers. The work was developed for 10 months as part of an unprecedented effort: the application of more than 100 requests of information to various public entities, the review of more than three thousand documents and interviews to more than 80 people.

Technologies used for this project:

In "Excesses unpunished" it was used technology in two levels: the journalistic team constructed databases in Excel, crossed the information with other spreadsheets in the same programa and dynamic tables for the analysis. To clean the data it was used Open Refine and to construct the smaller spreadsheets simultanouslly it was used Google Spreadsheets. In a second level, a team of developed worked in the environmental map with PHP, with the framework kohana. We chose this framework because of its stability in working with data. Here is more information about the technology used: Database: MySQL. The website includes: HTML5, CSS3, Bootstrap, JQuery, JQuery UI, Javascript, Mapbox, Highcharts, jScrollPane, Magnific Popup, Font-awesome, Google Fonts, FlexSlider. Use of tools: Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Data analysis: google Spreadsheets, Excel.


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