11:15 am—11:35 am · June 13, 2024
Herschel Room
Learn about two award-winning initiatives that address the power imbalance between society and the state, using Freedom of Information and a multidisciplinary approach integrating journalism, advocacy, training, and civic technology to monitor governmental spending and provide oversight of lobbying. The results? Pivotal public reports and significant legislative reforms.

Fiquem Sabendo is a nonprofit organisation dedicated to reducing the power imbalance between society and the state through Freedom of Information. 

As public transparency advocates, they enable citizens to question their representatives and participate actively in democracy through a multidisciplinary approach integrating journalism, advocacy, training, and civic technology.

This session spotlights two award-winning initiatives: firstly, groundbreaking work revealing over 500 billion reais of undisclosed spending over 27 years, using open-source civic technology to make this vast dataset accessible and comprehensible, particularly for citizens traditionally disengaged from politics. 

This extensive process, spanning more than four years, involved collaboration with the Supreme Audit Agency, numerous Federal Agencies, legislative mobilisation, and crowdsourcing. The tools facilitating public participation in these investigations were crucial in unveiling governmental manipulations, leading to comprehensive data disclosure, amendments in public policy, and enhancements in internal governmental operations.

The investigations forced military agencies, which had operated autonomously since the dictatorship era, to align with national financial oversight frameworks, initiating internal audits and significant fiscal savings. 

Secondly we examine Agenda Transparente, a platform for monitoring lobbying within Brazil’s Federal Government — which is unregulated. 

This platform, through the synergy of open data and civic technology, provides insights into power dynamics, highlighting the most influential entities and identifying marginalised groups. Utilised by journalists and activists for research, reporting, and advocacy, it has yielded pivotal reports, like the one illustrating the government’s disproportionate engagement with the ultra-processed food industry over civil society in legislative matters.

Additionally, it facilitated comprehensive coverage of President Lula’s state of emergency declaration for the Yanomami indigenous community. Agenda Transparente has not only fostered journalistic endeavours but also prompted significant legislative reforms, including a national ban on a pesticide detrimental to bee populations.