Ready or not, the cyberworld is forcing accountability onto real-world institutions and leaders. E-government initiatives, public and private whistleblower sites, YouTube, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, free-press groups (here and here) and more — they’re giving ordinary citizens fighting against corruption a place to sound off, be heard, and band together.
Transparency International has said about the interactive side of the web:
It provides anyone with an opportunity to voice their concerns and engage in the fight against corruption. This can be done by signing a petition online, by gathering evidence of corrupt activities, or by blowing the whistle anonymously. In giving voice to unfiltered observations and sharing of information, blogs can play an important role for making governments, public institutions and corporations more accountable. A powerful example is the one from J. N. Jayashree from India, who started a blog to protect her husband – a whistleblower. Through the worldwide internet these voices suddenly become public making it more difficult for leaders to ignore them.
TI itself will soon launch an online tool to accept anonymous uploads of smoking gun videos, audio files, documents and tips.
Sites have sprung up that specialize in preserving government data bases and making them available to everyone. Some are narrow but useful to pinpoint potential abuses of public funds (an example is Official Advertising in Argentina). Others are broader but still manage to deliver obscure information. Want to check out the European Union’s budget? Take a look at FollowtheMoney.eu.
An American site that’s tax-exempt and professionally run is ReportPublicCorruption.org. Its mission: To bring a new level of transparency, accountability and integrity to all levels of American government. It promises to do that by “independently evaluating allegations of corruption in government, providing reports . . . to investigative journalists, and pro-actively educating government leaders and the general public on the true nature of ethics in government as well as the causes and remedies of public corruption.” It was launched by a group of accountability experts from the public and private sectors in North Carolina and is now going national.
Some accountability sites listed by Transparency International include:
- Capital Eye: Open Secrets
- Centre for Public Integrity
- Global Voices
- FCPA Blog
- Follow the Money
- Open Congress
- OpenNet Initiative
- People, Spaces, Deliberations
- Project on Government Oversight
- ProPublica Reporting Network
- Report Public Corruption
- Sunlight Foundation
- Sunlight Foundation Projects
We’ll be happy to post other sites readers suggest that promote accountability and compliance. Here’s one: