Congresso Aberto is a very interesting project because it does not rely on opinions. Sure, it’s nice to collect opinions but sometimes it’s better to have empirical analysis. Instead of asking people what they think, the coordinators of the project use government data (data from Brazilian House of Representatives) to show how the representatives vote and other information concerning their activity. And, by analyzing the data, the founders of the project, who are political scientists, offer high quality in-depth studies on the behavior of the politicians and their political parties.
However, the strong point of the project is, at the same time, its weakness: I believe the project, at the present stage, is too scientific and too sophisticated. As there’s a great number of illiterate Brazilians (according to a survey released last year, 28% of Brazilians are illiterate in practice whereas only 25% are fully educated), the rich information offered by Congresso Aberto is hugely ignored and/or underused.
I’m glad to hear Congresso Aberto is about to gain institutional support and it’s good news the project intends to hire a blogger. Nevertheless, I believe a blogger won’t be enough.
I might be mistaken, but I feel the project won’t reach popularity and leverage citizens’ consciousness about the parliamentarians’ activities by only having a blog “translate” the statistical analyses. Perhaps the project will need to train citizen journalists or something like that in order to reach its goal. I hope the institutions which will likely support the project have this in mind. It would be great to consider and implement training strategies because the project is awesome and more people need to get in touch with the findings of Congresso Aberto.


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