In occasion of their out of the ordinary press conference held at the Sziget Festival, Transparency International Hungary (TI) has presented the way they strive to involve youngsters in the fight against corruption. TI held the event together with four foreign representations in Hungary – the Dutch, the French, the British and the Norwegian Embassy – and also used the occasion to present their project funded by the Norway NGO Grants (NCTA). TI considers the governmental inspection against NCTA beneficiaries a politically motivated step, aimed at intimidating civil society in Hungary.
Quiz and anti-corruption wheel in Hungary
At this year’s Civil Sziget, anybody visiting the TI tent can join the „Spin against corruption!” program, offered by TI’s staff members and volunteers, presenting TI’s activities and the focal points of anti-corruption struggle. The anti-corruption organization welcomes those interested with even more attractions: with an iPad quiz festival-goers can measure their knowledge and their ability to resist corruption. And those who spin TI’s „anti-corruption wheel” will get enriched with important and/or funny anti-corruption knowledge.
As corruption is a phenomenon transcending country borders, the way to act against it should be international. This is why TI has joined forces with four embassies based in Budapest, to be able to speak to both Hungarian and international audiences. On August 14, Thursday, the TI tent will host a French Day, while Friday will be dedicated to the Dutch Day. Diplomats of the respective embassies will also be present at the events. TI’s Sziget campaign is supported by the NCTA, as well as the Dutch and the French Embassy.
Teaching anti-corruption to youngsters from the Norway NGO Grant
Among Transparency International’s top priority goals is anti-corruption awareness raising and teaching, targeted to young people. Action is needed for the future generation to feel different than the average Hungarian citizen of today; that is, to think that without corruption it is difficult or even impossible to get around in Hungary. “We organize anti-corruption courses in cooperation with universities and professional colleges, but we also find it important to reach out to young people outside the school walls, and Sziget Festival is just the perfect occasion for this” – said Emese Hortobágyi, head of People Engagement Programs at TI.
TI spends the funds awarded to them by the NCTA to launch their nation-wide anti-corruption education program called the „TI Academy”. The three-year long program, started at the end of 2013, entails TI professionals holding lectures about corruption risks, and anti-corruption activities at higher-education facilities. József Péter Martin, TI’s executive director said the organization has developed a comprehensive 12 elements- curriculum, touching upon the topic’s legal and economic sides, to be started in this autumn. “As part of the curriculum, we uncover corruption patterns in public procurement, business life and party financing, and we introduce the main tools of anti-corruption work, for example TI’s successful freedom of information litigations” – said József Péter Martin about the plans.
TI has been emphasizing for years now that the state has fallen into the trap of systemic corruption, which results in the government serving influential interest groups rather than its citizens. Systemic corruption can be broken only through bottom-up initiatives which rely on a wide societal basis, this is why it is indispensable to get the growing generation committed to refuse “everyday” bribing (involving the police or the healthcare sector) as well as the misuse of power on behalf of the state apparatus.
This goal can become reality only if fight against corruption can be extended beyond Budapest, onto a nation-wide process. TI has announced at Civil Sziget, that starting from next year, they will launch an “anti-corruption road show” reaching out to several settlements of the country, with the support of the British Embassy.
TI is a politically independent organization, whose stance on public issues is not influenced by governments’ political composition, but by their performance in anti-corruption issues. The governmental inspections against civil society organizations benefitting from the NCTA are according to TI derogatory and politically motivated, aimed at intimidating the whole of civil society.
Embassies also support the fight against corruption
The press conference was attended by the Norwegian, the Dutch, the French and the British Embassy.
Theresa Bubbear, deputy head of mission at the British Embassy, stressed on the fact that transparency is a key component of wide-spread prosperity.
“The Norwegian Embassy highly appreciates the important work of Transparency International with the aim of combating corruption in Hungary, among others by raising awareness, especially among the youth. We have for years been cooperating with TI and sponsoring several of their initiatives. The activities of the “TI Academy” project clearly fall within the priorities of the Norwegian NGO Fund, which promotes democracy, active citizenship, rule of law and transparency in Hungary and 15 other beneficiary states throughout Europe” – said Arild Moberg Sande, chargé d’affaires of the Embassy of Norway. “We have been cooperating with TI for years, and we have supported many of their initiatives. The activities carried out in the framework of the “TI Academy” are clearly in line with the goals set by the Norway NGO Grant, which supports the strengthening of democracy, active citizenship, rule of law and transparency in Hungary and 15 other European countries” – added the Charge d’Affaires. “
“Civil society is the backbone of any democracy and deserves our full support, for instance in its fight against corruption.”– pointed out Gajus Scheltema, Ambassador at the Netherlands Embassy.
AMM, chargé d’affaires a.i. at the French Embassy, highlighted the importance of raising awareness of and mobilizing the young generation in the fight against corruption. “Educating the young is key to building a strong civil society” – said Anne-Marie Maskay.