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Frontpage News 2009 Joining forces against corruption

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Joining forces against corruption

Media and civil society representatives from Hungary and Norway were gathered at an EEA and Norway Grants supported anti-corruption workshop in Budapest on the International Day against corruption on 9 December.

The workshop, which was organised by Transparency International Hungary, the Hungarian Environmental Partnership Foundation and the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Budapest, aimed at enhancing cooperation between journalists and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the fight against corruption.

Last year Hungary's ranking on Transparency International's corruption index deteriorated from 39 to 47th place. This has become a matter of increasing concern and debate, but few among the public are well informed about corruption and anti-corruption measures.

Informed and involved
"If no effective action is taken against corruption, Hungary may easily continue to slide down the ladder in the years to come. Advocacy efforts can only be successful if a wide range of citizens, civil society actors and media are properly informed and involved," emphasised the director of Transparency International Hungary Noémi Alexa.

The importance of a strong and vibrant civil society for a democratic development was emphasised by both Transparency International Hungary and Norway’s ambassador to Hungary Siri Ellen Sletner.

"As a fourth estate, the media need to ensure that authorities do not misuse their position. NGOs have a range of roles, from advocacy and protection of citizens' rights to providing assistance for the vulnerable and marginalised. Cooperation of the media and civil society is indispensable in order to have an effective and well-operating public watchdog," underlined the ambassador in her opening speech.

No-tolerance policy
As an NGO, aiming at transparency and accountability in the use of public funds, Transparency International is a key player in the fight against corruption in Hungary. Their efforts are supported through the Hungarian NGO fund of the EEA and Norway Grants, which place a key emphasis on supporting civil society watchdogs in a range of beneficiary states.

"Together we need to work towards a zero tolerance for corruption and for greater transparency so that corruption is prevented, revealed and prosecuted," said ambassador Sletner.

Photo credit: Royal Norwegian Embassy, Budapest.