The official advertising is an essential mechanism for communication between citizens and governments, however, once a legitimate element has been twisted to the point of becoming a palpable indirect censorship instrument. The lack of transparency in local and national authorities, and also in the media, makes it difficult to know the magic number that shows how much the official advertising resources affect the sustainability of media companies. That is how the Project Pauta Visible emerge.This Project started in the year 2016 promoted by the Foundation for Press Freedom of Colombia, with the objective ofvisualize the problem facing press freedom due to the improper use of official advertising at the national, and local levels. Currently, the project has sent more than ninety requests for information to national entities in order to gather information about their official advertising contracts, their contracting methods and the criteria they use to contract the different means of communication, as well as the private journalists in the municipalities of the country. From the various requests, more than one thousand contracts of official advertising have been collected, which represents a value of $ 166,898,340,760 of Colombian pesos, an equivalent to $ 58,581,170 of US dollars in expenses only for the term of 2016 and the first semester of 2017.In addition, there have been specific elements that show the undue manipulation of official advertising contracts. In the first place, the lack of transparency from the entities with respect to the required responses, even though it is an obligation determined by law, is evident, some entities don’t even respond. On the other hand, in terms of legal modes of contracting, entities take advantage from the procedures with less control elements, despite the fact that the contracting law (80 law) restricts such contracting modalities in an important way. “Direct contracting” and the “Minimum amount” modality proliferate for a large percentage of the contracts acquired by the projects, evidencing the undue manipulation of these contracting modes.Another of the most important findings of the project is the improper use of official advertising by entities at all levels. Despite the important need for efficient public advertising, many governments use it to improve the image of their own, and incidentally, their capacity as ruler, a contradictory element, not only of the rationale of the guideline, but of the same law.Visible Guideline is established as an easy and efficient search tool so that all citizens can understand the problems of official advertising, and be accountable to the expenses of their governments. Also our purpose is to reach audience in public and private entities such as the Court for Peace, Prosecutor’s Office, Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Truth Commission, Special Jurisdiction for Peace, High Commissioner for Peace, Ministry of Information Technologies And Communications, Ministry of Interior, ANTV, and the Governments and City Halls of the departments.
What makes this project innovative?
The objective of the Pauta Visible Project is to be an important input for journalists and researchers, that put as a point of discussion the management of official advertising in the country. For the above, we sent a significant number of information request to entities in order to cover the largest amount of national territory, and thus, understand the phenomenon at its best.The Foundation for Press Freedom, understanding how damaging it can be the improper use of official advertising contracts, launched this project of government information collection that was never seen before in the country. ‘Colombia Compra Eficiente’ it’s the platform where the contracts of all governmental institutions can usually be traced, however, such a system is too difficult to manage for the regular citizen standing up or for the journalists themselves, avoiding any development of an effective journalistic investigation, citizen oversight or accountability. On the other hand, the platform where the information about ´Pauta Visible´ has been uploaded is updatable, and easy to navigate. Admits any change for the improvement of the information delivered, that allow to updated with the latest information provided by the national government. The platform has been arranged so that it can be reviewed from a mobile phone, even if they are tablets or cell phones, or in a desktop PC. On the other hand, when being hung in a digital medium it does so with immediate access.
What was the impact of your project? How did you measure it?
The biggest impact that the project has achieved has been the collection of a significant number of official advertising contracts, as well as their schematization on the official website of the project.The more than one thousand contracts, the methods and methods of contracting, as well as the criteria, and their evidence in each of the entities at the national level are the first level. Pauta Visible is a growing project that seeks impact at the investigative, journalistic and regulatory level.With all this we have been able to give talks to people interested in the subject, as well as establish the improper execution of official advertising as one of the biggest diseases that attack press freedom in Colombia, according to the 2017 final report of the Foundation for Press Freedom.
Source and methodology
The project methodology is based on the submission of petition rights to duly selected state entities, either because they are recognized entities due to their high risk of undue use of resources, or because of their geographical situation within the national territory. Seeking to cover as many Departments and capitals as possible. On the other hand, national agencies were also taken into account, added to the 16 ministries currently working in Colombia. Within these rights of petition, each entity has been required to describe their contracts, the purpose of each one, as well as the contracting methods and the technical criteria required by the entity at the time of contracting.When the information is received by the entity, the response is analyzed, and the website is uploaded where the contractual information will be divided according to the information sent. Having scrutinized what is known, a description is defined that defines the objectivity, effectiveness and transparency of each entity, in order that the user understands in what scale the entity is considered in relation to the others.
It is developed in wordpress and used programming languages html and angular.js also consultation of Web services technologies have been used for the graphics, for the design we worked with Adobe Illustrator CC.
Juan David MoraJuana Catalina ÁvilaDarly Díaz María Camila Moreno Jorge Parada Faculdo IdalgoMariana Murcia Ana María Montenegro Jhonatan Ramirez