Big Data against Corruption in Central Asia

Corruption erodes democracy worldwide and produces a vicious circle, where it undermines democratic institutions and, in turn, weak institutions are less able to control corruption. Digital Communication Network Global — a coalition of digital influencers in the new information space — will address this important topic in the context of the rise of new communication technologies and their role on both sides of the equation. Technology facilitates the increased risk of embezzlement, bribery, fraud and has allowed forms of corruption-driven crime to flourish even more than before.

Conversely, there is a growing consensus on the role technology can play in the fight and prevention of corrupt practices. Governments, citizens and the media are using information technology to improve and check on governance, enhance public service delivery and trust, shape government-citizen-business relations, and reduce corruption. In particular, “big data” and “open data” on governance represent important new sources of information for anti-corruption efforts. Join DCN Global’s September webinar to look at the struggle against corruption in Central Asia, through the prism of the digital revolution.

Key points by Ioanna Georgia Eskiadi

In Central Asia, data is being used to defend and investigate corruption. Corruption erodes democracy worldwide and produces a vicious cycle, in which it undermines democratic institutions, and, in turn, weak institutions are less able to control corruption.

The rise of new communication technologies has led to new ways of investigating corruption. Technology can facilitate the increased risk of embezzlement, bribery, and fraud, and has allowed forms of corruption-driven crime to flourish even more than before. Conversely, there is a growing consensus on the role that technology plays in the fight and prevention of corrupt practices. Governments, citizens, and the media are using information technology to improve and establish governance, enhance public service delivery and trust, shape government-citizen-business relations, and reduce corruption. In particular, “big data” and “open data” on governance represent important new sources of information for anti-corruption efforts.

Data journalism can be developed through tools that collect information and help journalists gather data from huge datasets like government’s website. Some useful tools include merging databases, analyzing tones of videos, monitoring content, and crowdsourcing as a means to collect data. Some ways to collect data include scraping, identifying words related with the topic and searching by key word, and by manual analyzing. Data journalism aims to make the data more appealing by combining different stories to make content more effective and visually appealing.

Data journalism in Central Asia has many challenges as well, especially since data journalism requires a different strategy than the one used in traditional journalism. Some technical challenges refer to the non-unified formats of data and low level of digital literacy in some regions. These challenges exhibit the importance of data for journalists because as technology develops, the role of journalists change. Further, more data means more stories and more ways to engage audience. It’s important to create a dialogue between data users and data producers to develop a data ecosystem which engages all data stakeholders. We should also consider that no one can hide from digital forensics. For example, in Kyrgyzstan, local stories are not always local and data journalists are able to investigate the roots of corruption from many angles. Journalists report and investigate the national elections in Kyrgyzstan through a system of observation. It would be impossible to change the system of violations, therefore the aim is to capture the attention of many people in the process.

Engaging the public may be difficult on certain occasions, like election periods, but journalist should find new ways to make the data they use and distribute interesting to the greater public.

Watch the discussion:

Speakers

  • Ekaterina Reznikova, Data-journalist, Kloop, Kyrgyzstan
  • Altynai Mambetova, Co-founder of School of Data Kyrgyzstan
  • Gulzara Maratbek kyzy, Data-journalist, Kloop, Kyrgyzstan
  • Bektour Iskender, Co-founder of Kloop, Kyrgystan
  • Savia Hasanova, Data analyst, researcher, data journalist, School of Data Kyrgyzstan

Moderator
Aisha Kehoe Down, Investigative Journalist, OCCRP, Jordan

This event was co-organized by Digital Communication Network Global and World Learning and is part of DCN’s Ideas in Action — Digital Engagement, a series of virtual events launched in the context of the COVID-19 crisis. DCN is supported by the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Citizen Exchanges. Digital Communication Network created in 2015, is a 7.000 member strong collaborative network that connects professionals from a variety of fields and different regions of the world, committed to have an impact in the new information space.

http://digicomnet.org is an international association connecting professionals of the digital age to generate ideas, tools, products for media, NGO & government