Innovation in income and asset declaration: the role of civil society

The Open Government Partnership advocates publishing financial and interest disclosure as open data sets, as "informed citizens are more likely to demand greater accountability from public officials."[1] The Sunlight Foundation also campaigns to make disclosures more widely available by removing technological and economic hurdles, encouraging standardisation of disclosures to make analysis and comparison easier.[2]  

In 2014, Poder Ciudadano, Transparency International's chapter in Argentina, took this one step further. Working with civil society groups and media outlets, 30 volunteers developed an online visual database which simplifies the top 800 public officials' asset declarations and allows anyone to track and compare how officials have accumulated assets over their time in office. On its own, the tool cannot detect corruption, but it can raise red flags if officials are seen to live beyond their means. The visual database won the 2014 Global Editors Network award for best data journalism, and the technology behind it is being shared with other anti-corruption organisations across the world.[3]


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