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Communication's Contribution to Anti-Corruption Efforts: Soliciting Feedback on a Joint Project with the UN

Antonio Lambino's picture

CommGAP is jointly organizing a learning event on communication’s contribution to anti-corruption efforts with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the international agency responsible for promoting the ratification of the UN Convention against Corruption.  The event will be held at the UN headquarters in Vienna, Austria later this year and hopes to bring together government officials working in anti-corruption commissions (ACCs), experts in communication approaches and techniques that support anti-corruption initiatives, and international journalists.

In case you have ideas, suggestions, and/or general comments, we would appreciate it very much if you would send them our way (through the comment function of this blog).  We’ll be checking for postings regularly.  To give you a better sense of what we have planned so far, I'm pasting session topics with brief descriptions below.  Thank you in advance for your feedback!

Building anti-corruption networks and coalitions within state institutions -- This session will introduce communication techniques of persuasion and public interest lobbying useful for building networks and coalitions in support of anti-corruption efforts, and for linking up reform-minded public officials and politicians.

Cultivating a culture of probity and accountability within public authorities -- Cultivating a culture of probity and accountability within public service agencies is critically important for increasing the likelihood of success of anti-corruption initiatives. This session will focus on how to change the culture and behavior of public servants within the civil service, exploring practical examples and good case studies from around the world.

Learning from the global environmental movement: Raising issues on the public agenda -- The ways in which agenda-setting and framing techniques can be used to increase the salience of anti-corruption issues by taking stock of the global environmental movement’s success in prominently positioning their issue on the public agenda. How do we elevate anti-corruption’s position on the public agenda, especially at the national level?  How can public will be generated to support raising the public profile of anti-corruption initiatives?

Media/civil society campaigns and removal and resignation of corrupt leaders -- Creating an effective anti-corruption media campaign and/or a strong civil society movement around the issue of removing corrupt leaders from office. Experiences from countries where entrenched and corrupt leaders were displaced through powerful and widespread expressions of public intolerance of corruption are of particular interest.

Getting citizens to differentiate between real corruption and rumors of corruption -- It is often the case that citizens incorrectly perceive inefficiency and incompetence in public service provision as corruption. It is important for citizens to know the difference.

“This is the way we do things around here”: Tackling everyday corruption -- Changing norms and increasing political efficacy of citizens for tackling everyday corruption. The session will also explore the role that public opinion can play as an instrument of sustainable reform after a society successfully transforms the norms that previously used to condone and tolerate corrupt practices/behavior.

Communicative dimensions of the work of anti-corruption bodies -- Applying the concept of corporate communication to ACCs.  Corporate communication can cultivate among citizens awareness and appreciation of public value.  This session will present cases from around the world demonstrating the need to have internal and external (public) support, and the internal capacity necessary to increase the likelihood of success and sustainability of anticorruption initiatives.

Photo credit: Arne Hoel, World Bank

Comments

Submitted by Rushda on
Dear Antonio, I must say it is a brave effort trying and would like to wish you all the very best. I have one criticism and one suggestion to make. Since the meeting to tackle the problem would be of government officials, it would be very difficult for you to put in a long time world bank solution, even as a suggestion. The session on Cultivating a culture of probity and accountability within public authorities, would run aroud in circles. As a person who lives in the developing world, it would not be difficult for me to point out to you that the law-makers and the law implementors are the creators of the biggest loopholes. The gap between the public authorities and the masses is too wide, and for the latter to an access to the former. One of the solutions that is fast gaining ground as a system of accountability from public officials, was something that the World Bank advocated in the 1970s -- Democracy and Decentralization. Everywhere you travel, you will realize that it is a movement that is trying to gain sterngth and find feet. The prime issue that would need to be foucssed here is that of solutions and various mechanisms apart from media that would be effective. The suggestion that I have to make is divide the seminar into thre sections. In the first let the journalists who have been covering the impact of corruption give an overview. Let the social activists who have been facing acute problems as a result of the governmental corruption, and governmental officials who have been trying to combat illegal activities like drug trafficking, talk about their problems. In the third session let the officials who can make the change respond, be they government officials or world bank officials. Why I am asking for the third session, is due to the fact that the state officials are the most powerful and influential of the lot. For the state to curb corruption, it will need to be aware of the lacunae in its own functioning. Again, all the very best.

Submitted by Rezwan Alam on
The World Bank's avid interest to work with the government officials is questionable. During my tenure at the WB Office Dhaka, we struggled to implement a development communication project with Ministry of Information, simply because the government's own understanding of communication and WB's understanding of communication didn't match. I'm doubtful if it will, at all, ever match. The reasons are more philosophical and operational: Most third world governments still view the communication as simple vehicle of development, using it as means of disseminating lifeless messages. The government communication infrastructure, the capacity to communicate and trustworthiness and credibility of the government messages are points that are often missed. The development partners are also themselves to be blamed, because to them communication means just securing 'positive media coverage'. And not sure how the media people will contribute to this learning event, because journalists are traditionally critical about both government and WB's joint initiatives. Nonetheless, this is a good initiative and I would urge to include webinar facilities for non-participants to contribute.

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