Advocacy, Media and Communications, Politics and Governance, Poverty

Let’s stop corruption in Sri Lanka!

A litany of socio-political problems we face today can directly or indirectly be traced back to the existence and growth of corruption. Bordering on criminality, exacerbating extreme poverty, stifling economic development and ultimately frustrating democracy and good governance, corruption – from bribery and extortion to fraud and nepotism – is a wretched phenomenon that progressively wastes Sri Lanka’s social, economic and political potential. Addressing it requires a holistic approach that looks at the interdependence of the Executive, Parliament, Judiciary, public institutions, private interests and civil society initiatives.

This video, part of a larger media campaign conducted by the Anti-Corruption Programme of ARD has details of a national anti-corruption public exposition from 27th to 29th July 2007 that may prove to be a useful foundation in building public awareness on and against corruption.

What are your ideas to help combat corruption in Sri Lanka?

  • sam

    And the public ain’t aware of corruption… Ha!

    The video is ‘backward’ – that is – we learn ‘corruption’ from our politicians and business ‘leaders’ … How can you ask the policeman or the local municipal officer not to accept a few hundred rupees to turn a blind eye or accelerate a process, when everybody knows that right at the top, the perks and the kickbacks are how it is…

    And I wonder what kind of ‘dirt’ would be discovered under the sheets of the so-called civil society …

    My idea for combating corruption: start throwing fat politicians and the super rich, who’ve been found guilty of corruption behind bars – and then the process will begin …

  • Guilty parties must be identified, prosecuted and punished, especially those in high places and powerful positions: no disagreement there. But corruption is not just a problem of “them.” Corrupt officials and businessmen did not become so only after they assumed their positions. They brought their values with them, and those values are rooted in, and mirror, society at large.

    So the problem—and the answer—lies within each of us. Every individual—no matter whether in a high position or just an ordinary citizen—needs to take a positive stand to oppose and resist corruption.

    In the long run, prevention is more powerful and effective than prosecution and punishment. It’s the same as with illness: getting sick means having to lose time at work, see the doctor, perhaps go to a hospital, buy medicines, and run the risk of complications. It’s much better not to get sick at all.

    The answer to the problem of corruption is a change of attitude and belief, and then a change in behavior. By every person, and at every level of society.

  • sam

    I still maintain that we learn ‘corruption’ from those above us. They use it to manipulate people: divide and rule, though not strictly corruption, is still a form of corruption. It’s manipulation of an existing system to benefit oneself.

    It’s fantastic the ACP are working on building up such a project – but I’d like to hear if there’s any group working, or being funded to conduct deep investigations in corruption or collusion or nepotism.

    You will have very little impact on the ground (sure, the ‘ordinary citizens’ will come along to your workshops and nod and agree) unless the ‘big’ people are thrown in jail – and hopefully, the ACP won’t have the impact of empowering police thugs to crack down on ordinary people who paid someone 100 rupees to get a job done…

    Sri Lankans tend to look up to the ‘big’ people. Start shaking up Parliament, and then you’ll begin to have an impact.

  • sam

    Sorry – just to add something more, for the record.

    If we are to use the medical analogy – then I would actually say the corruption is the drug. It is not a sickness, but rather the cause of the sickness. And the supplier of the drug is not the ordinary citizens, but rather those who rule.

    Please don’t think I am a supporter of Nancy and her ‘just say no’ campaign. I am fully for prevention and harm minimisation – when it comes to those ordinary citizens who have been addicted to the drug. But I am all for zero tolerance when it comes to the fat cats living in luxury villas, getting rich from other peoples suffering.

    So, track down the supplier of the drug, and put them through a ‘reform’ program. But as we all know, the ultimate supplier of the drug doesn’t even live in Sri Lanka… I’ll think you know where he resides!

    All I am saying is revert your energy to tracking down the suppliers. The rest is bandage remedy.

  • To address Sam’s first response, the ACP will wind-up and complete its two years of activity in October. But other organizations, such as Transparency International, Centre for Policy Alternatives, Lawyers for Human Rights and Development, and similar groups, have been and will continue to do research and publish material dealing with the problem of corruption and the need to promote a culture of integrity.

    And yes, until the perpetrators of corruption receive appropriate punishment for their deeds, it will be difficult to convince people to modify their own behavior. But at some point, one must stop blaming “the big bad guys” for all problems–and stop waiting for “the big good guys” to find a solution to the problem.

    Today’s editorial in the Daily Mirror had it right: “The time has come for the present public antipathy to be expressed more forcefully and effectively….Citizens have to be more proactive if the present campaign is to achieve its objectives.”

  • Banjiappu

    not only srilanka but also almost every developing country is having the problem.