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Politician Spritzer, Investigative Quiz – Transparency International at the Sziget Festival

Politician Spritzer, Investigative Quiz – Transparency International at the Sziget Festival

Gajus Scheltema, the Dutch ambassador to Hungary, as well as the representatives of the French and British embassies, emphasized the importance of the fight against corruption at the Sziget Festival, at a press conference organized by Transparency International (TI) Hungary.

Gajus Scheltema – for whom this was the third visit already to the Sziget Festival – said that he supports TI’s anti-corruption efforts, as he believes that corruption is one of the most serious negative phenomena undermining society. The ambassador added that in addition to investigative journalism, it is also very important to inform and educate the young people of today, who may become the “leaders of tomorrow,” about corruption and its risks.

József Péter Martin, the executive director of Transparency International Hungary, pointed out in this relation that 80% of young people in Hungary believe it is impossible to get ahead in Hungary without corruption, with the figure being even higher among the older generation. He added that people practically feel that corruption is ingrained into the society.

The director talked about an earlier study carried out by TI, which showed that only 30% of Hungarians would report corruption, which is by far the lowest percentage in the European Union. According to Transparency, in addition to average citizens, the Hungarian political elite can also be considered corrupt. József Péter Martin emphasized that “The biggest obstacle to the fight against corruption is that checks and balances have been eliminated from the Hungarian legal system.”

Anne-Marie Maskay, the first counsellor of the French embassy, also emphasized the importance of TI being present on the Civil Sziget, helping to increase the consciousness of young people about the risks of corruption and showing them how they can fight it.
Adam Kettle-Williams, the deputy head of mission at the British Embassy, warned that corruption is a global problem that makes society instable and increases the chance of crises occurring.

Balázs Weyer, the co-founder of Direkt36, emphasized that journalism is an important weapon in the fight against corruption, but the Hungarian press pays less and less attention to it. Weyer hopes that the more investigative reports will be published in the future, the more individual cases will come to light.

Direkt36 will publish a big investigative piece in the autumn on how certain businesses apply for EU funding and then eventually go into bankruptcy, thus pocketing huge amounts of money.

TI tent at the Sziget

Transparency International Hungary views the education of young people about anti-corruption as one of its priority goals, thus it tries to approach members of the younger generation at numerous events and forums. The organization welcomed those entering its tent on the Civil Sziget with a cold “politician spritzer”: “Do you want spritzers to be free on the Sziget? Your representative can take care of it” – their banner says, and the spritzer is indeed free, although it turns out that “the politicians have stolen the wine out of it.” According to TI, “promises don’t mean anything if there is no content to back them up.”

In addition to the politician spritzer, festivalgoers could show off their skills in an investigative game, while everyone could measure their own level of corruption with a quiz.

The event was supported by the British, French and Dutch Embassies, as well as the Norwegian NGO Fund.

Tags: Festivals

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