A new Internet tool to track crime and corruption is now available in Panama

Jun 32010

Mi Panamá Transparente, an Internet site based on Ushahidi technology to track crime and corruption is now available for Panamanian citizens.

The Web site was developed as part of a Knight International Journalism Fellowships project in collaboration with the Fórum de Periodistas para las Libertades de Expresión e Información. The Fellowships program is administered by the International Center for Journalists in Washington, D.C. The website is the essential component of a project to support investigative reporting in Panama and to produce a more transparent and safer country with the help of citizens.

The digital map of Mi Panamá Transparente, fed by citizens' reports, will be a new tool for investigative journalists. Citizens who are witnesses or victims of a crime or act of corruption will be able to report those incidents to the Mi Panamá Transparente Web site, using a form posted on the site. The citizens’ reports can be anonymous. The digital map will let users know if reports have been verified by professional journalists working for the newspapers La_Prensa, Panamá_América and La_Estrella. Reports that show up on the map will give journalists a unique way to analyze corruption and crime and help improve public security and transparency policies in Panama.

In the near future, Mi Panamá Transparente will have a phone number that citizens can use to send text-message reports about crime and corruption incidents to the Web site.

The Mi Panama Transparente site uses software developed by Ushahidi, which means “testimony” in Swahili. Initially developed to map reports of violence in Kenya after elections in late 2007, Ushahidi’s goal is to create a platform that any person or organization can use to set up their own way to collect and visualize information.