Weekly news – 23 March 2018
This week we’ve been gripped by revelations about the tactics employed by Cambridge Analytica (CA) to influence elections using data collected – possibly illegally – from Facebook users’ accounts.
- A lot of the focus has been on what role the company played in votes in the US and UK, but the firm has also been linked to campaigns in Czech Republic, India, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, Malaysia Nigeria and Ukraine, making this a truly worldwide phenomenon.
- New technologies can be a double-edged sword. Social media has transformed how the public call out the corrupt and demand change. But what happens when the data these tools generate about their users is used as part of a murky process to influence elections? Is this corruption?
- The now-suspended CEO of CA, Alexander Nix, told undercover reporters that some emails between the company and its clients automatically self-destruct, leaving no electronic paper trail for investigators looking into potential election fraud allegations.
- Moreover, the actual identities of companies working on elections were hidden, presumably through shell companies. “No one even knew they were there,” said another CA executive of an operation in Eastern Europe.
- The scandal highlights how election laws in many countries have loopholes that allow special interests to buy influence. In some cases, regulations are often lacking altogether, making it harder to pinpoint exactly how corporations or politicians have crossed the line. That’s particularly true here – the scandal around Facebook and Cambridge Analytica indicates a new battleground in the fight against political corruption.
- This week former French president Nikolas Sarkozy was charged over allegations that he received up to 50 million Euros towards his 2007 election campaign from Muammar Gadaffi’s regime in Libya.
- In Peru, President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski has resignedover a vote-buying scandal. You might remember that back in December Kuczynski survived an impeachment vote after pardoning one of his corruption-accused predecessors, Alberto Fujimori. Now, new videos appear to show Kuczynksi’s allies offering up a share of public contracts in return for support in a second impeachment vote.
Everyone knows House of Cards as the Netflix show about corruption, but over the last few years, the popular streaming service has produced several high-quality TV shows with different flavours of corruption at the heart of their story lines.
We’ve put together a list of some excellent Netflix series that showcase the different faces of corruption.
Today’s story is from Papua New Guinea, where in spite of having natural wealth, the local communities often live in poverty and are victims of corruption. Transparency International Papua New Guinea works to help empower local communities to demand accountability and ensure transparency from their government. Catch up here.
How can we bring more people on board? Or, put differently, how can we incentivise their engagement? Mahmoud Farag puts together a range of ideas to help get more people engaged — and sustain that engagement — in the fight against corruption. Find Part 1 here.
This training manual supports journalists in Africa to investigate and report stories of land corruption, a subject that remains under-reported and poorly understood. It is for anyone who provides training and capacity-building for investigative journalists in Africa including facilitators, trainers, lecturers and teachers.
USA: Political Corruption and the Art of the Deal
The New Republic (21 March)
Malta: Malta corruption whistleblower hands herself in to police
The Guardian (20 March)
Guatemala: Guatemalan government removes corruption investigators
Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) (21 March)
UK: UK ‚has turned a blind eye‘ towards Russian money-laundering
Sky News (22 March)
Romania: Romania picks fight with Brussels over corruption monitoring
Politico (21 March)
Source: Transparency Interntional
Social media has transformed how the public call out the corrupt and demand change.