Vienna International Center, Austria -- The third and final day of the CommGAP-United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) communication and anti-corruption learning event featured the following topics: the role of communication in changing social norms and behavior that support corruption; the communicative dimensions of anti-corruption bodies; and a brainstorming session on the ways in which UNODC and CommGAP can support the global anti-corruption community of practice.
Presentations made by a number of today’s lead panelists supported the view that normative and behavioral change must start with an acknowledgement that a problem exists, which requires awareness-raising and knowledge acquisition among members of the public. In the case of anti-corruption efforts, it is necessary for citizens to first realize that corrupt practices occur in their own contexts and, moreover, their quality of life is negatively affected by these nefarious practices.
The subsequent challenge is ensuring that citizens understand they can actually do something to combat corruption in their own personal capacities (increasing self-efficacy) and that opinion and social networks are tapped to serve as conduits of influence in battling corruption, especially at the local level (interpersonal communication). In addition to the more obvious roles that traditional and new media play in increasing awareness, knowledge, and self-efficacy among citizens, other communication formats have been found to be effective in the fight against corruption, such as radio dramas and TV programs during which public officials answer questions asked by members of live studio audiences. Mediums and formats should, of course, vary based on local context, but it is nonetheless reasonable to argue that the objectives of increasing awareness, knowledge, and self-efficacy should remain the same regardless of location.
We have learned from experience that technical excellence in designing anti-corruption initiatives, while necessary, is often only the first step. Over the past three days emerged a general sense in the room that key to tackling corruption is a determined push toward citizen participation in anti-corruption efforts. It is only when citizens themselves own and drive anti-corruption initiatives that these efforts are more likely to obtain sustainable success.
In photo (left to right): Jorge Hage, Minister of State for Control-Transparency of Brazil; Andre Doren, Director of Communications, Transparency International - Berlin; Gerry Power, Director for Research and Knowledge Management, BBC World Service Trust.