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Communication and Anti-Corruption: Day 1

Antonio Lambino's picture

A post from the Vienna International Center, headquarters of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and venue to a jointly organized CommGAP-UNODC learning event on the role of communication in supporting anti-corruption efforts.

More than 80 people from more than 35 countries and 5 continents are in the room, each caring deeply about fighting corruption in their own countries and globally.  The first day of the workshop covered topics such as building anti-corruption networks and coalitions within state institutions, cultivating a culture of probity and accountability within public institutions, and learning about the ways in which the global environmental movement has struggled to raise its issues on the international public agenda.

Communication’s critical contribution to all these areas is underscored by remarks made by Jorge Hage, Minister of State for Control-Transparency of Brazil, during his keynote address this morning:

The role of communication approaches in supporting anti-corruption efforts is something so relevant that we are forced to ask ourselves how was it possible that it has never been brought to a serious and thorough debate before. But it is happening now, and this is the good news. It is my belief that the relationship between "anti-corruption efforts" and "communication" is nothing less than crucial...

For one thing, there is no way to imagine real success in the fight against corruption without intense social participation of the citizens. From another point of view, it seems obvious (and nevertheless it is frequently neglected, in practice) that without effective persuasion it will never be possible to obtain adequate engagement from public officials in general, and at least from a certain proportion of politicians...

On another angle, it is mandatory to discuss, in depth, the role of the media in itself on that matter. This debate that cannot be postponed has to deal with a somewhat contradictory reality: on one side, lies the fact that a strong and absolutely free media (free press) is a basic requirement to combat corruption, but, on the other side, we cannot forget (not even for a moment) that the press organs, being privately owned (as they are in most cases) play the role that serves to the interest of their owners… In other words, there is no place for any sort of naïve concept, when it comes to this subject.

And, once again, this event is most welcome, because it will provide the opportunity to discuss questions like these – which are in the core of our day-by-day problems and challenges.