Sometime back I got to know about a wonderful initiative, K-Monitor, a watchdog for Public Funds based in Hungary. Founded in 2007, K-Monitor website now contains over 20,000 articles and essential background materials in related topics.
K-Monitor’s website “gathers, stores, and makes available online articles concerning corruption, public spending, and the transparency of public life in Hungary.” And I must say that they are doing a great job in accomplishing this goal. K-Monitor:
1) Aggregates and then publishes the collection of all corruption related articles in Hungarian media
2) Ensures that the database is updated with new and archived articles
3) Has published its tool-kit for corruption that contains all the relevant definitions and guidelines for citizens detecting corruption.
4) Has a blog for whistleblowing wherein a “potential legal framework” has been suggested through international comparisons of whistleblowing laws worldwide.
5) Conducts its own investigative work in form of public data disclosures, research work, disclosures etc.
6) Aims to make all the necessary and relevant information about Hungarian politicians, policy-makers, business people and companies available on its website.
7) Conducts its legal advocacy and lobby activity in the fields of freedom of information, transparency, state corruption etc.
On a different note – from the perspective of open government data (OGD), the Hungarian government has expressed intention to join the Open Government Partnership (OGP). In my opinion, K-Monitor is both the source and a beneficiary of the move of the Hungarian government to join OGP.
Going forward K-Monitor must aim to make use of the government’s political will to kick-start a process and start consultation on the creation of a single, well-established government database of public data from an open government data perspective. A lot more can be achieved to democratise information (the optimist inside me speaking right now)! With the Aarhus Convention and the implementation of Freedom of Information Acts in various countries, including UK – it has started to look even more promising now!
Being an Indian, I am sure that no one can feel the need to develop corruption eradication strategies more. Indians suffer from corruption in all facets of life and I am keen to see how K-Monitor progresses with a hidden motive to view their approach, identify synergies and learn lessons from them which maybe implementable in India. Or maybe we are charting a new way of our own, see India against Corruption!