The Pacific is Organising Against Corruption

Bryce Edwards

Bryce Edwards

Dr. Bryce Edwards

Director, Transparency International New Zealand

Corruption is rife in parts of the Pacific both within countries and by other nationals exploiting Pacific forestry, extractive industries and the economic zones. We all know that. But how do we combat it? Transparency International and the 6 Pacific chapters (including Australia, Fiji, PNG, the Solomons, Vanuatu and New Zealand) are stepping up activities to fight against this very serious problem. TINZ hopes to play a much stronger role in helping build the capacity of individual TI chapters in the Pacific – it’s a renewed goal of our organisation.

A major tool for fighting corruption – in both the Pacific Islands and elsewhere – is the use of media and political advocacy. To strengthen our use of such tools, the TI Secretariat organised a two-day workshop on this subject in Vanuatu in early February for the Pacific region chapters. Led by former TI Secretariat public relations manager, Farid Farid, participants learnt how to better use the media to push our message.

The workshop focused on existing resources to make a bigger impact. The Pacific chapters can find a louder and more effective voice through better understanding how the media works, what the public is interested in, and how to use social and digital media.

I was lucky enough to participate on TINZ’s behalf. There were plenty of lessons and skills that I learnt to apply in New Zealand. This information will hopefully help build our chapter’s capacity and impact. This comes at an especially useful time for the New Zealand chapter because as we are re-assessing and re-launching TINZ’s communication strategy under the expert guidance of board member Suzanne Carter. Expect to see TINZ increasingly effective in communicating our ideas to the public and policy-makers.

Beyond learning skills and information to improve our chapter’s communication capacity, the workshop was also vitally important in fostering relations and linkages with the other Pacific chapters. Our neighbouring chapters’ work and issues are interrelated and sometimes similar to our own. This workshop was a solid step in the ongoing commitment for the Pacific chapters to present a stronger united front and leverage synergies in our ongoing fight against corruption.

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