Public Awareness Campaign – Concept Statement

What is corruption? – Public Awareness Campaign

To fully implement the OHR’s Comprehensive Anti-Corruption Strategy for Bosnia and Herzegovina and establish a sustainable anti -corruption program, public support is necessary. If the public is passive towards corruption and accepts is as inevitable and victimless, efforts to combat corruption, establish an independent judiciary and the Rule of Law will be futile.

The major purpose of the public awareness campaign will be to change how the citizenry, especially young people, understands corruption and fraud, and how they think about their government and its responsibility to the constituency. In addition, the anti-corruption public campaign purpose is to build support for more open, less corrupt institutions, and intolerance for abuse of public office.

The Anti – Corruption Public Awareness Campaign will be comprised of TV and radio messages, as well as printed material such as posters.

The first phase of the ACPAC will aim at educating the public on what is corruption though appropriate animated examples. Each anti-corruption message must fulfill three basic requirements in order to fully convey the meaning of what is corruption.

  • Clear and comprehensive example of an act of corruption

  • Victim, a main character of animated TV ad, of corruption

  • Clear illustration of consequences and implications for larger society

The second phase will focus on educating citizens on their rights to good and responsible governance and the role of different institutions and citizens in fighting corruption and fraud.

Definitions of corruption

The following definitions will be used in the campaign.

World Bank definition (s)

“Corruption is the abuse of public office for private gain”

“Fraud are illegal deceptive activities in general, of which corruption is only a component.”

“Bribe – exchange of money or favors to take an action (illegal or legal).” or

“Bribe – the use of award to pervert the judgment of a person in a position of trust.”

Except private gain derived from corrupt activity, an individual may also obtain benefit for a narrow interest group that does not encompass or may be contrary to the public interest (political parties, cartels, businesses, etc.)

Explanations, implications and consequences of corruption

Quick fix in cutting the red tape (extortion and bribery)

Corruption can be blamed if You cannot obtain a public service in a timely manner (various kinds of licenses and decision issued by governmental institutions) or set up a private business without having to pay “extra” or call on “shtela“. Multiple steps, numerous documents, stamps, potvrde, papers, etc., are stumbling blocks to clear and fast service procedures, and open many possibilities for corruption and abuse of office.

– S(h)tela is a Bosnian colloquial expression denoting a person who fixes things either for money a favor to be returned later.

Nepotism – absence of meritocracy

  • Corruption (abuse of office) can be blamed if your public official got a job not because what he/she knows (hers/his professional education and experience), but because of who he/she knows that is influential and can get her/him that job.

Increased taxes and cost of public services

  • Corruption can be blamed when you have to pay additional taxes to fill budgetary deficit because some public officials embezzled millions of dollars or signed a bad contract (SAB Bank).

Discouraging adherence to laws and undermining morality and integrity of public administration

  • Culture of corruption becomes dominant when majority of people thinks that a majority of politicians and public servants is corrupt. Additional step is when public starts to think that this is acceptable and that they see little reason why they too should not help themselves. Such thinking leads to the Rule of Unlawfulness.

Corruption undermines a long-term prosperity of the country of productive effort, time and energy

  • When corruption is widely spread there is very little political willingness to take unpopular decisions. For a corrupt politician it is much more important to assure his/her prospects within the system than to make unpopular decision for the prosperity of the whole country. Popular sayings such as: “Do not rock the boat boat” (Ne talasaj), and “Try not to offend anybody” (Nemoj da se zamjeras) become laws of conduct.

  • Corruption turns normality into exceptions. Productive efforts, time and energy are devoted to inventing ways and making contacts to outdo the system, rather than to enhance the system and bring about positive changes for the benefit of people. (For example, more energy and money is devoted to avert and dispel well founded allegations of a wide spread corruption in BiH, as was cited by the NYT, than to actually fight corruption).

Institutionalization of Unfairness

  • Once corruption deeply permeates all level of government and society, it encourages a widespread opinion that corruption is an inescapable part of political and economic life. Such an extent of corruption would constitute an Institutionalization of Unfairness, in which honest and hard working people area minority and face exclusion and discrimination from economic and political decision making.

  • Achievements, objectives and plans are measured in money (how much does it cost to “make it happen”) cost not in human needs.