In Fiji and many Pacific countries where the proportion of young people to the total population is about 70 percent, social media has been an important conduit through which anti-corruption advocacy is conducted. Youths For Integrity Fiji were recently the recipients of a generous grant from Transparency International New Zealand to produce creative videos on anti-corruption.
The funding support was predicated on the notion that the voices of young people deserve to be recognized, seen and heard. Pacific peoples and national leaders need to support youths in the fight against corruption. This is critical in getting other young people and the Pacific public to influence the discourse on fighting corruption in all its forms.
For Integrity Fiji’s young people, the video project helped them to link with other Transparency International Chapters in Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu and strengthen ties with the Pacific Youth Council. These links had been strengthened by the meeting of Pacific TI Chapters youth leaders at the Pacific Anti-Corruption Conference held in Auckland in May and the TI Regional Youth Conference in Fiji in August.
One of the challenges of the theme of anti-corruption according to film editors Jese Misaele and Lusi Tupou is that the topic, if not presented creatively, can be technical and dry and turn off viewers. Whenever the public thinks of anti-corruption, there is sometimes a perception of stern looking lawyers in crisp suits talking in legal jargon.
The other challenge Jese Misaele noted is that English is a second language in the Pacific and as one of the editors, he has to look at ways of presenting young people’s narratives in a coherent way.
One of the videos being edited is a call for people to “Join the Movement” against corruption. It is presented through a poem read by a child and presented through a dance centred around the Fijian song “Cakacaka Savasava” translated as ‘Work With Integrity.’
Film Coordinator Lusi Tupou noted that the generous funding received from TINZ on this project has been a huge blessing.
“It has confronted us to look at creative ways of spreading anti-corruption messages, rather than the boring talking heads that had been a staple of our film production".
So far two videos from this project have been released on the Youths4IntegrityFiji YouTube Channel: Amplifying Pacific Youth Voices Against Corruption and 'Work With Integrity' Dance - Join the Movement Against Corruption.