Friday, November 23, 2007

Media: important to fight corruption

Source: Bhutan Observer, weekly
By: Tashi Wangmo

Bhutan: The media is a very important stakeholder to fight against corruption, said Paul Russell of Crown Agents, UK, who is in the country to prepare and develop the national anticorruption strategy for the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC).

ACC had proposed Crown Agents from UK to review its current strategy and operations in order to develop a Programme of Action (PoA) for operationalisation of the commission. Karma Thinlay, head of prevention division, ACC, said the agency will be giving expert inputs for the strategy.

Today, editors and journalists from all media organisations will have a meeting with Paul Russell. Regarding the media and the ACC, Paul said he learnt that the relationship was sound; there was mutual respect and the commission recognises that the media has an important role to play.

"I get the impression that the media is satisfied that the commission is prepared to be open and this policy of openness is going to continue." Paul Russell said media houses are happy when there is bad news and bad news is good for press to create interest in readership. Regarding getting information from ACC, he said the commission has enforcement laws and also the skill which was needed to ensure that the media is kept appraised of what ACC was Doing but without infringing on the integrity of an investigation.

"In general terms, not just in Bhutan but even elsewhere, transfer of information should always be done professionally and received professionally." Paul Russell said he was highly impressed with the people he had come across in ACC, with the level of education and understanding of the concept and commitment.

"The commission has all resources to become a highly competent institution and a model which will be copied by other institutions." While in the country, Paul will be meeting the key people in government and private organisations and civil society.

Before departure, he will make a presentation on the PoA and submit a written report to the ACC. A draft final report will be submitted by the Crown Agents within 10 days of his departure. The review will take into account the issues like corporate strategic issues, operational strategic issues - prevention, operational strategic issues - community education, human resource management, and other issues.

Paul has worked all over the world providing technical assistance, preparing strategic plans and developing national anticorruption strategies, preparing code of conduct and ethical behaviour and associated training programme.

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