Last February, N-Map travelled to Mexico to produce informative videos to support the launch of the corporate transparency platform “Who’s Who Wiki,” developed by the Project on Organizing, Development, Education, and Research (PODER)®. In its first project in Mexico, N-Map accompanied PODER in conceptualizing five videos to communicate the relevance of this initiative, its potential impact, and the importance of citizen participation. PODER is a regional non-profit organization that works to improve corporate transparency and accountability from a human rights perspective. “Who’s Who Wiki” (WWW), or Quién es Quién Wiki in Spanish, is an open data, open software platform that addresses the lack of transparency in the Latin American private sector through monitoring companies, corporate elites, and their government counterparts. The beta version of this online platform was launched on May 13 in Mexico City, with plans to expand subsequently to other Latin American countries.
The objective of WWW is to empower citizens to become guarantors of corporate accountability by pushing for greater transparency in the private sector from a civil society and human rights perspective. This tool, the first of its kind in Latin America, allows users to access corporate data that otherwise is often inaccessible, from diverse sources, countries, and languages, all concentrated in one place, in Spanish, with a rigorous research and verification methodology. An important component of this platform is that it uses wiki technology, which enables user participation to collaboratively populate the database.
The importance of citizen-led information tools is that they exercise the right to information on issues of the public interest, such as corporate activities and their impact on society. This is particularly relevant in Latin America, not only due to the power of large corporations over the quality of life of millions of people, but also because of the lack of transparency that characterizes the private sector and its contracts with governments across the region.
Increasing corporate transparency is essential to improving Latin American economies and democracy. Civil society often has limited access to this information, but now journalists, advocates, academics, regulators, and investors have a new, very helpful reference for their work.
In collaboration with the prestigious filmmaker Shula Erenberg, N-Map initiates its work in Mexico with these five videos that promote “Who’s Who Wiki” and highlight its potential for impact. Prominent representatives of the Mexican civil society volunteered to participate in the filming, including Daniel Gershenson (social entrepreneur), Ximena Andión (human rights defender), Benjamín Anaya (artist and editor), Paola Galletta (designer and performer), and Lilia Saúl (data journalist). Together with PODER, we designed these brief videos with simple, strong messages.
Promotional videos at: vimeo.com/user25451370
Who’s Who Wiki: www.rindecuentas.org
Each participant holds a black box, which represents the current state of corporate transparency: opacity. Each actor makes an appeal for citizen participation to help open the black box, so as to increase public knowledge about corporate practices and the opportunity for collaborative citizenship on the“Who’s Who Wiki” platform. The invitation is to join a citizen-led movement for corporate transparency in the public interest.
With this, N-Map hopes to inaugurate a long trajectory in Mexico that will include working on other issues such as the tragedy of missing persons, pending justice for victims of the ABC daycare fire, and the human rights violations of migrant people.