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Sri Lanka’s hypocritical journalism

I come from a country where journalism is at its lowest ebb and unity among scribes even lower.

In another country, the journalist brethren would have probably gone gung-ho and splashed the news of its fellow colleague winning an international award of integrity on its front page, but not in Sri Lanka, dubbed as the ‘land like no other’ for its pristine beauty which Mother Nature has so generously doled out.

Sri Lanka is home to a population of 20 million, tens of newspapers in three languages including English, at least a dozen magazines, more than three dozen radio stations and over a dozen television stations and countless number of online news sites.

Yet, exiled journalist Poddala Jayantha being honoured with the Transparency International Integrity Award for 2009 – 2010 at a ceremony held in Bangkok, Thailand on November 12th  sadly made it to a very few news media in Sri Lanka.

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Youth Demand To Have A Say In Fighting Corruption

Most corrupt countries have a large proportion of youth in the population. A big number of anti-corruption efforts are already operating in those states and there are surely more to come, but in most cases, youth seem to be left out of the fighting rings.

The members of Global Youth Anti-Corruption Network and young people participating in the 14th International Anti-Corruption Conference could not just sit and wait to be older to join the ranks.

They say, or even SHOUT, that they must be heard. That they have the right to participate. That they might get better, fresher ideas than the older generations.

Over the four days of the Conference, more and more youths are asking and demanding for their rights to the (mostly) older panelists. But it’s not enough, they’ve prepared their version of Bangkok Declaration.
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Video: What are participants going to do after they reach back home?

What are participants going to do after they reach back home to fight against corruption?

Journalists are channels to fight corruption

An empowered media empowers a powerless society.

For using so much of the word power in the statement above, I am sure it would be edited out in our editorial office.

But corruption is really about power and the power to take from.

Last night was the integrity awards night. It was a showcase of the bold, the mean and the dead. Bold because you have to really stand up for your rights to make change. Mean because you cannot be heard if you speak softly. Lastly, dead because they will be on to you until you are silenced.

Journalists are channels of citizens to a democratic, peaceful society that adheres to human rights. The decision a journalist make in releasing information – whatever the information is, to the public affects the choices the society make that eventually affect their lives. It also aids – whenever used sufficiently, politicians make decisions in the government for public.

It is indeed inspiring to note that one of the awardees of the Transparency International’s Integrity Award winners is a journalist. More so it was even overwhelming that most of the people attending the conference strongly believe in what journalists do.

But this blog post is not about a pat in the back on us journalists.

After participants gave their affirmation of their support for journalists, the speaker asked who believes that journalists should stop what they are doing… I saw one bold hand rise.

I am not here to point a finger nor malign the personality of the guy who raised his hand but this became a realization for me that of the 1167 participants of the conference, still 1 or 0.086% had a different view.

On a crazy arithmetic, the .086% of the world population, 6.88 billion according to the US Census Bureau, it may be translated that about 5 million persons do not believe in what journalists do. Whew! That’s a big number to defend from. No wonder journalists get killed.

Oftentimes, it is the love for the craft that journalists give their dedication. It is because they adhere to deliver truthful information to the society. It is because they want transparency. The only wealth journalists acquire is to see the society live the way it wants to be.

By being agents of transparency and truthful information, journalists help the society fight corruption. But, it should be a conscious effort of the society to make a stand in the fight.

From the show of hands, I am inspired.

Empower the media, empower the world.


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Corruption and Poverty – A Complicated Relationship

Global Youth Anti-Corruption Network’s Joseph Mansilla just e-mailed me a link to the coolest visual tool to quantify links between corruption and other societal problems that I’ve seen this week. (Ricardo Valdes’ CPI+US Trafficking in Persons Report comes in close second).  Below is a still image from the highly interactive “Gapminder” graph that vividly depicts the positive correlation between poverty and corruption.  Click here to visit the interactive version.

So, what’s this all mean? Does corruption lead to poverty or does poverty cause corruption? Or, is the relationship more complicated than that?

That’s your cue: Let us know what YOU think by tweeting with the hashtag #14iacc.

– Jimmy

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