Empowering citizens to report corruption
Country: Macedonia, Ukraine
Keywords: Corruption, transparency, information technology
The problem: High levels of corruption and lack of reporting
In Ukraine there is widespread dissatisfaction with the provision of public services by local authorities due to corruption. Similarly, in Macedonia, distrust of the integrity of important public institutions coupled with unwillingness to report corruption has allowed this barrier to access to justice to become firmly entrenched in Macedonian public services.
The strategy: Using texting to report corruption
Endemic corruption has resulted in innovative methods, which use mobile phones to denounce corruption by state bodies. These ground-breaking initiatives have sparked a wave of social activism, which has increased public accountability and accessibility to public services, signalling a turning point in public tolerance for corruption. A quick and easy way to report corruption has emerged as a possible solution: sending a text message.
Macedonia– Report Corruption is a joint project of the organisation Transparency International – Macedonia and the Center for International Relations that allows citizens to report cases of corruption: this can be done for free via SMS texting, through the network of ONE; via mail, by filling out the web application; by telephone; and via twitter using #korupcijaMK. This application is the first of its kind in the Balkans and Europe.
The high uptake of mobile phones in Macedonia (85 per cent in 2010) means that a large number of citizens have a straight-forward and quick means of reporting alleged acts of corruption. After reported cases related to corruption are received, they are fully investigated by Transparency International. Transparency International also provides consultation services to people submitting reports.
On the website (www.prijavikorupcija.org) users can review applications submitted to the site categorised by the type of corruption, and add themselves to the event. Prijavikorupcija.org is operated with Ushahidi. It has been developed as a tool for democratising information, for increasing transparency, and for lowering the barriers for individuals who want to share their access to justice problems.
The app became available in 2012. As of March of 2013, citizen reports had resulted in the investigation of 121 reports.
Ukraine – Corruption has triggered the creation of a trailblazing project designed to reduce the phenomenon and increase citizen engagement in public decision-making. In January 2014, the city council in Ivano-Frankivsk, Western Ukraine with the support of the UNDP Regional Anti-Corruption Project piloted a free mobile phone app, which allows its users to provide feedback on their experience with public bodies. The app contains information about all the providers of public services and has 14 anti-corruption hotlines for corruption reporting. Users can also submit an electronic petition to the city council. Corruption allegations are subject to a 30–45 day time limit. Corruption standards are established by reference to national legal standards. The local council has recently completed a four-month advertising campaign in March to June 2014. It is hoped that ten per cent of the local population will have used the app by the end of the year.
Further information / resources
In context – country data
Population: Approx. 2 million
Form of legal system: Civil law system
WB ranking of world economies based on GNI 2014: Upper-middle-income
Transparency International Corruption 2013: Ranking 67/177
WJP Rule of Law Index 2014: RoL Global Ranking 34/99
Population: Approx. 45 million
Form of legal system: Civil law system
WB ranking of world economies based on GNI 2014: Lower-middle-income
Transparency International Corruption 2013: Ranking 144/177
WJP Rule of Law Index 2014: RoL Global Ranking 68/99
Updated October 2014