Mobile phones helping to fight corruption in Papua New Guinea
More than 1500 text messages reporting on the cases of corruption have been received from citizens of Papua New Guinea after the introduction of “Phones against corruption” initiative by UN Development Programme and Department of Fincance (DoF).
Pilot initiative introduced new corruption reporting tool through mobile messaging. It allows to send anonymous and free of charge messages to the DoF’s Internal Audit and Compliance Division for further investigation in collaboration with relevant state bodies responsible for criminal investigations and prosecution.
“Whistle-blowers have been living in fear, but Phones Against Corruption now gives us confidence to report misconduct”, says one of the project’s participants.
The initiative was introduced among 1200 staff of the Department of Finance. Since the launch of the initiative in July this year, 1.538 text messages have been received from 384 different users, as of September this is an average of 41 messages per day.
The next step is to expand this initiative and reach out to general public of Papua New Guinea. Separate awareness raising campaign will be conducted to attract attention of the public and mobilize their participation.
As mobile phone usage and Internet access around the world increase, technologies are transforming society, opening up new possibilities for citizens to demand change and public accountability.
Corruption is an ongoing issue in Papua New Guinea affecting citizens and residents at all levels of society, however most citizens do not know where and how to denounce corruption and often fear violent retribution. Introduction of corruption-reporting mechanisms such as “Phones against corruption” showed one way of dealing with the problem.
Enthusiasm of the project’s participant will be taken into account, and starting from 2015, the project will be launched nation-wide.