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Corruption has been a moral problem amongst governments around the world since the history of governance. In the past, public officials have been associated with grand corruption scandals in different countries, and citizens felt betrayed by such actions. The public plays a major role in the promotion or prevention of corruption. However, citizens can only act in a certain way based on whether they know about the existence of corruption.
If the public knows of the prevalence of corruption, it will act within its powers to punish the individuals associated with such practices. Nevertheless, the public can learn about these cases only through the media. This paper claims that the media plays a central role in the prevention or promotion of corruption by informing the public about such occurrences. The arguments presented in the sources used for referencing this paper are clear and convincing.
Patriotism drives many citizens to stand against corruption within the public sector (Bohn 71). For instance, if a certain public official holding an elective position in government is associated with corruption, voters will punish that person by not electing him or her during the next cycle of elections. However, the media has to play an active role in revealing such cases for the public to be aware and act accordingly. For instance, a study in Brazil showed the effects of releasing audit reports on how different municipalities used federal funds. The report reduced the chances of being re-elected for incumbents associated with corruption (Ferraz and Finan 705).
However, the presence of a local radio station played a central role in spreading the news to the public. According to Ferraz and Finan, having a radio to inform the public of corrupt incumbents reduced the reelection chances of such individuals by 11 percent (705). At the same time, the incorrupt incumbents’ chances of being elected again into the same position improved drastically after the public learned of their virtues through radio stations. This observation was in line with the class lecture on the same where Gingerich noted that citizens establish a retrospective voting rule to reelect perceived good individuals. Therefore, citizens are willing to remove corrupt public officials from power as long as the media plays its role of factual and nonpartisan reporting.
In Mexico, the media divulged the details of the infamous banquet held at the residence of former finance minister Don Antonio Ortiz Mena. The banquet sought to raise funds for the ruling party’s 1994 campaigns. When the media leaked the details of the meeting where a small clique of individuals pledged to contribute 750 million US dollars, there was a public outcry, which led to the sacking of the ruling party’s president and finance secretary (Oppenheimer 109).
This aspect reaffirms the argument that the public is willing to fight corruption as long as it is aware of the existence of such practice. In another study by Corbacho et al., it was established that in cases where the citizens are against corruption, those being elected to public offices tend to refrain from the practice. As such, in cases where the public tolerates corruption, the elected leaders will become corrupt due to permissive societal perceptions associated with the practice (Johnson 119). Therefore, it suffices to conclude that the degree of corruption in any society is directly proportional to the stand that the public has taken on the issue.
Citizens can encourage or prevent corruption cases amongst public officials. However, for the public to act against such cases, the media has to play its role in spreading nonpartisan information concerning the occurrence of corruption in a given area. With the right information, the public will act to stop corruption.
Bohn, Simone. “Corruption in Latin America: Understanding the Perception–Exposure Gap.” Journal of Politics in Latin America, vol. 4, no. 3, 2012, pp. 67-95.
Corbacho, Ana, Daniel Gingerich, Virginia Oliveros, and Mauricio Ruiz-Vega. “Corruption as a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Evidence from a Survey Experiment in Costa Rica.” American Journal of Political Science, vol. 60, no. 4, 2016, pp. 1077-1092.
Ferraz, Claudia, and Frederico Finan. “Exposing Corrupt Politicians: The Effects of Brazil’s Publicly Released Audits on Electoral Outcomes.” The Quarterly Journal of Economics, vol. 123, no. 2, 2008, pp. 703–745.
Gingerich, Daniel. Politics of Latin America. Lecture 21: Corruption. Johnson, Joel. “Presidential Elections and Corruption Perceptions in Latin America.” Journal of. Politics in Latin America, vol. 7, no.1, 2015, pp. 111–142.
Oppenheimer, Andres. Bordering on Chaos: Guerillas, Stockbrokers, Politicians, and Mexico’s Road to Prosperity. Little, Brown and Company, 1996.