Crime-Fighting Website Gets Prime Time Attention in Panama
A woman is crossing a pedestrian bridge. It is late at night in San Miguelito, a popular but unsafe neighborhood in Panama. Two billboards serve as walls for the bridge creating a tunnel effect and obstructing the view.
The woman is unable to see that two purported members of a local gang are climbing up the bridge. Suddenly, they confront her, steal her purse and run.
A voice over says: “Report crime and corruption. Enter mipanamatransparente.com or send a text message to 5638. Report it!” The number 5638 is the short code of mipanamatransparente.com, a crowdsourcing website created through this fellowship that tracks information from citizens about crime and corruption.
The PSA campaign was launched this September 21 in Panama City with a press conference by the Forum of Journalists and the Panama Chapter of Transparency International. Three PSA's for TV are being broadcasted by the two major Panama TV networks: TVN and Medcom. One PSA for radio is also being broadcasted by KW Continente.
The website experienced a net increase of unique visitors and page visits. We hope this PSA campaign serves as a way to encourage more citizens to send reports and more journalists to write stories about them.
Editor's note: Jorge Luis Sierra is a Knight International Journalism Fellow currently working in Panama and Mexico to develop a mapping system to help journalists and citizens track crime and corruption.