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UNDP – NIIT Project “You have the right to know”

Since 2014, NIIT has been contributing to the UNDP’s Advancing Accountability Mechanisms in Public Finance program. Among others, the program’s goal is to provide better preparation of NGOs and media for monitoring and reporting on public finances.

To support the defined goal, NIIT is implementing the project named “You have the right to know” on the territory of the South and Southeast Serbia. Through the project, NIIT and “Juzne vesti” are endeavoring to provide the information on civic spending to the public.

Using investigative journalism methods, NIIT and “Juzne vesti” point out on examples and consequences of non-transparent public resources spending through political employments. In addition, our intention is to raise awareness about the necessity of public surveillance on public assets. The project is supporting the permanent public finances spending monitoring mechanism. Moreover, both civic and internet community capacities for observation and reporting are improving through this process. In addition, the public’s attention is drawn to misbehavior of authorities in the field of employment, related to political parties’ membership.

The important outcome of the project will be the higher capacity of civil society, social media and media in general to use citizen journalism, as permanent source, hard to be censored. NIIT and “Juzne vesti” have good experience in implementing the projects on similar topics. From the previous and actual knowledge, the project shows strong and numerous effects.

One of the most important results is noticeable higher involvement of citizens in the above-mentioned activities. They use social networks and media to share comments. The “Juzne vesti” portal plays very important role in this process, providing space for actual information and comments on them. In addition, the portal offers news to other media – local, regional and national. In the TV show, named “15 minutes”, influential politicians, civil servants and civil society representatives are regularly hosted. They have an opportunity to express their own views on actual topics, but  at the same time, the audience (citizens) are able to share their opinion through comments. Citizens as well use social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, to share important information and raise public awareness at a higher level. Such activities have increased the civil society pressure on political actors. Thus, public spending is more accountable and responsible.

The project is being implemented in 2014 and 2015. According to the partners’ evaluation and our internal assessment, the project implementation is successful, with visible results. In addition, the citizens’ active contribution to the fight against corruption is specific and measurable.