“Yo Informo” lets Panama's voters report election abuses, question candidates

by Luis Botello
Oct 30, 2018 in Specialized Topics

A new project in Panama is calling on the wisdom of the crowd to cover the country's May 4 national elections.

During the campaign, Televisora Nacional (TVN-Channel 2), a leading Panamanian TV station, is using its crowdsourcing platform, called “Yo Informo” (“I Inform”) to surface citizens’ top concerns.

On Election Day, it will use the platform to monitor the polls and ask voters to help spot any election irregularities that may arise.

This project is part of the “Cuida tu Voto” (“Take Care Of Your Vote”) program, designed to help Panamanian journalists cover the elections using digital tools that encourage citizen participation. “Cuida tu Voto” is part of the International Center for Journalists' Investigative Reporting Initiative for the Americas, run in partnership with Colombia-based Connectas.

People can use the platform to ask questions of candidates, report problems, or reveal unmet political promises after the election is over. They can send reports and questions via the platform, email or social networks from their mobile or tablet devices or computers.

TVN’s newsroom manages the platform, mapping and analyzing citizen reports. Citizens’ questions to the candidates are sorted by issue, such as education, health and security, so that voters can more easily compare where the candidates stand. TVN uses the information and answers voters' questions during its news broadcasts.

“The interactive electoral platform is very important because it allows us to capture information from citizens and broadcast it to the nation so people can actually take action,” said TVN Digital Strategy Manager Joel Díaz Llamas.

The “Cuida tu Voto” project is sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in Panama. Other partners include the Centro Latinoamericano de Periodismo (CELAP) in Panama, and Akora from Mexico.

Luis Botello, ICFJ’s senior director of special projects, administers the Investigative Reporting Initiative for the Americas.

Image: screen-shot from Yo Informo site.