We at K-Monitor firmly believe that corruption is a problem that affects all parts of the society and harms everyone regardless of their beliefs, ethnicity, gender or political orientation. It not only causes enormous economic harm, but also undermines trust in institutions and the rule of law. It endangers democracies and also hurts people in regions where good governance would be must to eliminate hunger, poverty and violence. The best antidote against corruption is a society where citizen have a feeling of ownership over institutions and actively shape their environment. As a non-profit, K-Monitor supports institutions, journalists and individuals to fight corruption through community building, tech development, advocacy and research.
About This Cause
K-Monitor was founded in 2007 by young volunteers as a grass roots initiative and has developed to Hungary’s main civic tech group and top anti-corruption NGO.
K-Monitor develops tools by which public expenses become trackable, decision makers can be hold accountable and works on methods that allow citizens to participate in decision making. Beside tech projects, K-Monitor conducts research and advocates for legal reform both on the local and national level. K-Monitor works as the Local Research Country Correspondent of the European Commission’s Anti-Corruption Report and has been working as an expert with organizations such as PwC, Ecorys, Global Integrity, Control Risks, the World Wide Web Foundation and many more. Principles of our operation are openness, independence and a critical approach.
Our activities were supported by OSF, CEE Trust, , Sigrid Rausing Trust, European Commission, Visegrad Fund, Norway Grants, NED, Google DNI, TechSoup and many individual donors. Our international partners have been among others: The EngineRoom, Huridocs, Open Knowledge Foundation, Transparency International and the TransparenCEE Network. Our annual budget has varied between 80k USD and 150k USD in the last years.
K-Monitor is operates with five employees and and external experts. K-Monitor’s co-founder and director, Sandor Lederer is European Young Leader at Friends of Europe, was a Marshall Memorial Fellow at the German Marshall Fund in 2012 and has been selected as an Obama Fellow in 2018. The Hungarian Ombudsman for Freedom of Information and Data Protection awarded K-Monitor with the Justitia Regnorum Fundamentum prize in 2011.
About some of our projects
K-Monitor database (http://k-monitor.hu/adatbazis) is huge library and map of corruption in Hungary used by thousands of visitors a month. It is available as a website and a mobile app.
The Red Flags project (http://redflags.eu), carried out in co-operation with Transparency International, is an open source risk indicator system based on algorithms that helps to identify and prevent risky public procurements and is mainly used by journalists and procurement experts.
In co-operation with our partners, we have established a minimum program against corruption (http://onkormanyzatok.ezaminimum.hu) to encourage political decision-makers to make transparency commitments for the legislative period. As a result of our 2018 campaign at the local elections in Hungary 400 candidates signed our transparency commitments, 200 of them became elected in 60 municipalities of Hungary. In 2020 aim to monitor the implementation of the commitments and support local transparency efforts with expert materials, consultancy and tech tools, such as our budget visualization platform.
„Be smart with data!” is a project of K-Monitor funded by the Norway Grants dealing with the use of open data. The aim of the project is to promote and encourage the use of data and technology in the Hungarian civil society, and to develop CSOs’ capacities in working and communicating with data. The project is currently transformed into Code for Hungary.
We organize hackathons and crowdsourcing events where we digitize, analyze and visualize data on public spending together with our supporters and volunteers. In our advocacy activities we work on issues such as political finance, asset declarations, whistleblower protection, public procurement, freedom of information, lobbying and local governance & civic participation.
K-Test is a tool that checks your propensity for corruption. K-Test aims to highlight the broader social context of corruption. Our goal is to show: corruption does not begin with the acceptance of millions or billions worth of bribes but roots in our everyday social behaviour. Check it here: http://k-teszt.hu/
Our project on informal payments in maternity care, aims to examine the complex patterns behind petty corruption in the health sector, raise awareness around this corruption scheme and advocate for systemic change. The system of informal payments does not only spoil patient – doctor relations, but has dozens of negative consequences: it favors wealthy patients against less privileged citizens, it blocks attempts of transparency, it leads to unneeded interventions (such as C-sections – since women will be fostered to give birth when the chosen doctor is on duty/call), it hinders the merit based promotion of young doctors as doctors in senior position decide on surgeries and block positions to secure their extra incomes. Informal payments in maternity care further amplify gender issues and the asymmetrical relation between mainly male obstetricians and childbearing women.
K-Monitor's Hotel Oligarch (nerhotel.hu) project is a map of restaurants and hotels owned or operated by politically exposed persons, in order to make the ownership structures of the sector transparent and help concious consumer choices.
Our open source participatory mapping platform Partimap.eu helps civil initiatives and local municipalities to gather the needs and interests of citizens in urban development.
In several cases where government agencies or the beneficiaries of public funds refused to respond to our information requests, we turn to court. We went to court to find out the costs of Viktor Orban and his family's trip to Rome last year on a plane belonging to the national defence, to obtain contracts for the new building of the Ministry of Finance, which was renovated with billions of forints, or to receive documents from cabinet meetings that are hidden from the public. We have also gone after the Hungarian Chamber of Court Bailiffs, involved in one of the most serious corruption scandals of the last years, still trying to hide contracts signed by its leadership already in detention.
In 2022, K-Monitor had a total of thirteen lawsuits, all but one of which it won. In the latter case we lost against the Ministry of the Interior, where we sought to obtain background studies drafted by the Boston Consulting Group for the ongoing healthcare reform that is performed without public consultation. We appealed to the Constitutional Court against the final decision. However, in our cases we not only pursued the obtention of data, but we also wanted to improve case law and judicial practice on freedom of information. This was particularly important for us, as we closely followed the adoption of new litigation rules in the framework of the conditionality mechanism and the entry into force of the Tromsø Convention, which was established by the Council of Europe and to which Hungary signed up to new obligations in favour of data applicants.