California, USA, 28 July 2006: ESRI announced that the “Mapping the Media”—Political finance in the Americas project uses ESRI’s GIS software to create maps for the analysis of the media. The goal of the project is to reduce corruption and promote equitable access to political information during elections by using the maps to empower policy makers and the public to facilitate constructive reforms of political finance laws and practices regarding media access.
The maps depict which kinds of media reach which voters, and who owns those media outlets. In addition they display voter characteristics in a given district in terms of native languages, socioeconomic status, and education levels.
Commenting on the mapping project, Dr. Shelley McConnell, Senior Associate Director of The Carter Center’s Americas Program, said, “In this way, citizens can participate in regulation of political finance that will reveal the linkages between donors, candidates, parties, and the media and thereby reduce undue influence over politicians. In addition, the maps will enable small and independent parties to identify the media that reach each constituency, thereby allowing them to target their media messages and recruit effectively at a lower cost. Money will matter less in electoral outcomes.”
The project is sponsored by The Carter Center, the Canadian Foundation for the Americas, and the Latin American Research Centre of the University of Calgary.