1. Corruption in Sports
Sports provide an arean for healthy competition between athletes, teams and countries. Sport is also followed worldwide by billions of fans, from football and cricket, to cycling, athletics and even darts. Corruption damages the integrity of the results, removing the concept of fair play that underlies sporting endeavour. Sport also provides people, particularly young people, with role models, and ruining this bond of trust hits directly at the fans. Role models are meant to set an example, but if the example they are setting is one of corruption and cheating the damage this can cause is immesurable.
Traditionally, corruption in sports has focussed on match or spot fixing, in which people affect incidences within and final results of matches. This is either done for financial gain in an attempt to manipulate betting markets, or in order to achieve certain successes. Almost all international sports organisations have created units that are tasked with tackling match-fixing, but it is not always easy to tell from the outside when a match has been manipulated.
Corruption in sports is not, however, limited to match-fixing, as recent events have shown. Corruption can also be found in the upper echelons of sports administration. Money and influence can be traded to secure lucrative TV rights deals, or can be used to bolster the power base of elected officials. Unfortunately, a lack of independent oversight for international and even national sporting agencies makes tackling the problem of corruption in sports administration particularly challenging.
2. Corruption and civic empowerment (civil society)
Civil society has a major role to play in uncovering, monitoring, and fighting corruption, and is often on the front line of the battle against corrupt politicians and private companies.
Civil society groups can get together to monitor public budgets, offer insight and local knowledge into new environmental projects, observe and monitor elections, and report corruption to governmental institutions or investigative journalists.
Working together gives the public a stronger voice with which to fight back against corruption. Alone, individuals can be easily ignored by a country and its bureaucracy. However, with the committed voices of other members of the public in support, civil society can work together to get their voices heard and their complaints addressed.
However, in many countries civil society is cracked down on, seriously limiting the ability of the public from countering corruption. In such circumstances, assistance from international civil society movements, and intuitive use of what rights are permitted can allow for civil society to make effective anti-corruption changes happen. International groups such as Transparency International and Global Witness can make a big difference by supporting grass-roots level civil society find its voice.
3. Corruption and youth
The youth of today represent a large portion of society. The world’s youth have a huge part to play in countering corruption and fighting back in sectors and countries where it has become entrenched. Given their unique position within society, young people offer the opportunity for traditional norms to be challenged – they have a far lower vested interest in preserving the corrupt status quo.
Young people are presented with the issue of corruption on a daily basis, and it has the potential to damage the futures of those who it affects. They are also more vulnerable to corruption as they exist in a perceived position of weakness in relation to their superiors. Corruption in the education sector can prevent an individual’s progress; corruption in the health sector can lead to medical care being unavailable, or only at a high cost, therefore leading to young people being forced to look after their families at home rather than progressing their lives and careers.
Young people can bring innovation and new technologies to the fight against corruption. Moreover, they are more likely to engage in activism as opposed to simply attending trainings and listening to lectures.
4. Corruption and culture
Corruption is viewed differently by different people around the world. What to some may seem like an unacceptable example bribery may to others be just an example of good hospitality, and therefore not an issue. There is, therefore, no cut-and-dry solution to fight corruption. There is no silver bullet.
Anti-corruption efforts are widely seen as context-specific; something that may work in one context may be totally unsuitable for the issues faced in another.
5. Corruption and education
Corruption affects all aspects of education, from the first day of school onwards, and can effect students, families, and whole communities and countries. A lack of fair access to education can seriously impair the development potential of individuals, and wastes the potential of new generations for the countries that need them the most.
This can include corruption that directly affects students and their families; from parents having to pay a bribe to ensure their children gain a place at a school, to students having to pay bribes to their teachers in order to receive a fair (or unfair) grade. Corruption can act as an additional tax on the poor, who can be forced to choose between education and food. Such bribes may not always have a monetary value, and sexual ‘favours’ can be exchanged or solicited as part of the bribe.
Corruption can also be found in the governance of schools and universities, and can see education budgets reduced by teachers and administrators looking to gain for themselves. Furthermore, corruption at the government level can result in schools not even being built, as construction and education budgets disappear into the pockets of corrupt government officials.
6. Revealing corruption (Initiatives and actions)
The media and technology play a vital role in uncovering corruption. It plays a key role first in monitoring and investigating corrupt politicians and the actions of private companies, and then relays this information to the public, informing those who are often most affected by the corruption.
Investigative journalism in particular is important, as it often uncovers facts that could not have been discovered by any other means. Linked to this, the rise in new media outlets, such as blogs and 24-hour news, means that there is a wealth of information. This heightened level of scrutiny that corrupt officials or actors are placed under can directly lead to corruption being uncovered, and may indeed play its own role in the reduction of corruption levels overall, as the corrupt realise that they are more at risk of discovery.
New and innovative technologies can also help in the fight against corruption. Hackers can use their computer skills to get access to the files of the corrupt and share them with the world. At the same time, new technologies can be introduced which make getting away with corruption much harder; for example electronic vote counting machines or electronic public procurement platforms. These innovative uses of technology still require the people operating them to act with integrity, but also offer many more ways in which to uncover and prevent corruption.