The 9th International Anti-Corruption Conference
Co-ordinators: Pauline Tamesis and Paul Oquist, UNDP and Margit van Ham, Transparency International
Partner organisations: Regional Governance Programme for Asia and the Pacific, UNDP and Transparency International
Objectives of this workshop:
The workshop was divided into two sessions. During the first session, which was followed by a general discussion, the four panellists made presentations related to the focus issues. Following the presentations, two break out groups were formed in a second session focussing respectively on media accountability and on parliaments and accountability.
A. First Session
Moderator: Paul Oquist (Co-ordinator, UNDP)
1. Sheila Coronel (Executive Director, Centre for Investigative Journalism, Philippines)
Ms Coronel illustrated the crucial role of investigative reporting in awareness raising by presenting the striking results of an investigation about bribery in public works projects in the Philippines. According to this, the village captain receives on average about 3% of the overall budget of the project in bribes, the city engineers about 10%, the mayor about 7% and the legislator about 16%.
Another study entitled Robbed" was also presented as an illustration of the role investigative journalism can play. This study about corruption in education found high corruption in those situations where there are strong discretionary powers within the government. Of text book funds, between 20 and 65% of the funds are lost in the process between decision and delivery. Schools receive only 30 - 40% of the textbooks they are entitled for. Combined with the fact that only 7 out of 10 students go to school beyond grade VI this leads to very poor educational standards. The studies brought facts undoubtedly showing the necessity of the following reforms:
Ms. Coronel also emphasised how beneficial Investigative Reporting can be for the media and society as a whole:
However the following challenges were stressed for an effective Investigative Journalism:
A third study suggested that the media have a strong need for self- regulation and monitoring of the press. About 1/3 of the journalists were found to have taken financial contributions from their sources of information. The ongoing crisis and the level of public outrage about graft, corruption and other crimes in the government could be very helpful in the establishment of better access-to-information laws and increased freedom of the press.
2) Kunda Dixit (Panos South Asia, Nepal)
Mr. Dixit talked about the Media in the Age of Cleptocracy. He defined newsworthy items as being characterised by one or more of the following:
Particularly in Southeast Asia, where the level of corruption is high, it is a newsworthy story to be found honest. Stories about corruption can be made newsworthy again through
Mr. Dixit pointed out that corruption is unsustainable and especially corruption in high places is dependent upon a high level of international aid, which is then channelled through the governmental process.
He called for a new media programme where media reporting will no longer be restricted to the doctrine of narrative neutrality but rather become multidimensional. He also suggested offering hope in writing, as one should never underestimate the power of good examples
3) Afamasaga Faamatala Teoleafoa (Member of Parliament, Samoa)
Mr. Teoleafoa reflected upon Capturing the Voice of the People. He stressed that parliament is the watchdog of the government and that parliament has to be accountable itself. This includes codes of behaviour for parliamentarians as well as a disclosure of assets. He called for an increased education of the people as the only way to enhance an understanding for the rights and powers of parliament. In addition, both remuneration as well as training should be increased for members of parliament and its staff. He highlighted the effects of the committee system as a number of watchdogs of governmental actions.
4) Nihal Sri Ameresekere
Mr. Ameresekere reported on the Results of the APEC Manila Meeting 29 September - 01 October 1999 where a consensus was reached in the following areas:
The Asia Development Bank will support a standing committee for regular exchange.
A delegate from Nepal cited a number of examples of open" corruption in parliament and the police force in his country. A delegate from Fiji noted that it would be necessary to prevent editors of newspapers and other media to distort stories duly researched by journalists. A delegate form Bangladesh criticised the World Bank for supporting corruption in collaboration with governments. Another delegate from Bangladesh noted that TI-Bangladesh offers prizes for investigate journalists from the country, rewarding their efforts by a further intensive journalist training overseas.
The workshop adjourned split into a sub-session on media accountability and a sub-session on parliaments and accountability
B) Second Session
Break-out session 1: Media and Accountability in Asia and the Pacific
Sheila Coronel (Executive Director, Centre for Investigative Journalism, Philippines) and
The highlights of the discussion were:
Break-out session 2:
Moderator: Manzoor Hasan (TI-Bangladesh)
The discussion of the about 15 delegates brought forth the following ideas and recommendations:
These recommendations should be passed on the Parliamentarians Union.
Partner Organisations and Contact Information:
Pauline Tamesis Email:
Folkard Wohlgemuth and Stan Cutzach