Posts Tagged ‘advocacy’

Engaging the corporate sector against corruption through social media advocacy?

14 October 2008

I haven’t been a very prolific contributor to this blog over the past few weeks, which was at least partly due to the fact that I was travelling. This post will require a bit of background, as it comes round to an idea for the application of social media advocacy very much on the basis of a more traditional look at – in this case – the part of the equation sometimes called the supply side of corruption: corporate bribery.

Among other meetings in the Netherlands, I attended Ethical Corporation‘s 2nd European Anti-corruption summit. What struck me there was how seriously many corporations take corruption as a legal compliance issue without necessarily taking into full view the broader societal implications of corruption and what business can do to help address these. In other words, following the string of latest corporate cases and at least some efforts by government to prosecute these more vigorously – with prominent exceptions – (see TI’s latest progress report on enforcement of the OECD Anti-bribery convention here for details) there is a heightened sense of awareness among big business that the legal risks incurred by corruption are considerable and that at least individually, businesses need to act.

Very few companies however seem to regard anti-corruption as a fundamental corporate responsibility issue yet (though there were a few notable presentations and conversations highlighting the importance of doing just that during the conference). Approaching anti-corruption as a responsibility issue not limited to compliance with the law (while that of course is fundamental) has the potential to not only protect one business from legal harm (a damaged reputation and lost business, jail time for senior management, etc. included) but to benefit society at large by helping to create the environment for sustainable development. Real opportunities exist for example for business to become engaged with collective action approaches against corruption (a good resource on these has been compiled here) that can help move the debate in the compliance and quite a lot more direction.

The reason I am bringing this issue up in the social media context is that beyond the immediate business case for anti-corruption (more…)

Corruption Perceptions Index 2008 going social?

23 September 2008

Today, Transparency International released its 2008 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI). In its visual appearance it is as all indices a simple table. Asking myself how the score relates to each country’s rather complex national reality, and therefore how the CPI, measuring only public sector corruption, could be complemented with additional information, I came up with a couple of ideas related to how the information is presented.

As a first step, improving the visualisation of the data can make it more accessible. So here’s the CPI as a world map. The Tactical Technology Collective has developed a nice guide on how to visualise information for advocacy. But better, make it an interactive google map. And the final step should be to use the crowd to enhance the information that is available in the map contributing real-time information – national news stories, bribing experiences and the like.

Secondly, you can explain the data with a press release. But you can also explain it with a youtube-video. Automatically the video relates to others on similar issues. Additionally viewers can comment on it, add their own videos, and engage into a conversation.

No research stands alone and needs to be seen in context with other data. The World Freedom Atlas, developed by Zachary Johnson at the University of Wisconsin, provides an interactive visualisation tool for world statistics on issues of freedom, democracy, human rights and good governance. Other examples of great presentation of information in world maps can be found developed by Maplecroft and, “as you’ve never seen it before”, on the Worldmapper website. In a future post I’ll share more interactive and social mapping projects.

But in the end, does a table, a statistic, or a number mean much to people? It works well for academics and rankings are great for the media. And it is of course a question of how to measure corruption in the first place (see the Users’ Guide to Measuring Corruption by Global Integrity, or the Mapping of Corruption and Governance Measurement Tools in Sub-Saharan Africa, by Transparency International), by the way to be discussed at the 13th IACC as well.

But on the other hand it has not much to do with what happens on the streets, in hospitals or in public institutions. An index meaningful to people needs to be connected to their lives and realities. More tools that combine facts and personal experience, as well as engage people in a conversation need to be developed. This will allow us to gain a more comprehensive picture of what is it exactly we are dealing with when we want to fight corruption.