Strong political will is imperative in fighting against corruption. Ahead of national parliamentary election, TI-Bangladesh stressed on specific commitment and implementation outline from the political parties to fill in governance shortcomings. To ensure democratic accountability, it urged the parties to lay out time-bound action plans following national integrity strategy. To make peoples engagement significant in the International Anti-Corruption Day (IACD) and ensure freedom of expression for all the citizens, TI-Bangladesh called upon the government to amend the Digital Security Act and Civil Service Act as some provisions of the laws created a context in which people feel insecure to raise voice and are forced to exercise self-censorship, and interrupt effective implementation of anti-corruption acts. Besides, TI-Bangladesh also urged to ensure application of political will in strengthening Anti-Corruption Commission with establishing honesty, non-partisanship and consistency in the leadership level. These demands including others were equivocally placed for the consideration of the stakeholders by TI-Bangladesh through number of outreach programmes marking IACD this year at local and national level.
As part of its week-long observation, on 9 December, the celebration kicked off in the morning with simultaneous Youth Rallies and Human Chains in the capital city and all 64 district headquarters of the country(Please see the images here) with the theme: Sustainable Development, Peace and Good Governance: Together against Corruption, jointly organized by TI-Bangladesh and Bangladesh’s Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) in cooperation with relevant District administrations, supported by Cabinet Division. Anti-corruption volunteers of CCC-YES network, tens of thousands of people, public officials and representatives, professionals, civil society, media, business and young students from schools, colleges and universities joined these IACD events. A joint cartoon and photo exhibition (TIB Cartoons and Photos) was also organized on 9th December at ACC head office in Dhaka for the first time marking the day.
At the capital, TIB organized a human chain at the University of Dhaka with the above-mentioned theme where a large number of YES including network members, TIB staff joined the human chain. TIB’s Executive Director Dr. Iftekharuzzaman was present at the human chain where followed by placing 10 points demands, the participants demanded transparency and accountability in all levels. Dr. Iftekharuzzaman said, “Bangladesh’s noteworthy progress in adopting anti-corruption laws and policies is beset with widespread shortcomings in practice and enforcement level. The possibility of enforcing the anti-corruption acts has been reduced because of some contradictory laws like Digital Security Act and Civil Service Act which become a weapon not only against freedom of expression but also against the anti-corruption movement. The Government should immediately take necessary steps in correcting the laws either through amendment or annulment if needed replacing with a citizen’s-friendly one. Without effective response from the government and ACC, the fight against corruption will fail.”
Earlier in an anti-corruption meet, Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain, Hon'ble Chief Justice of Bangladesh launched an anti-corruption TV Commercial (TVC), jointly produced by TIB and ACC which was later carried away by all the national and local TV and Radio stations. The awareness raising TVC with anti-corruption message focused on "Challenges of Men's Corruption on Women: Way Out".
In the afternoon, prizes were distributed to cartoonists and photographers who joined TIB’s 13th Anti-Corruption Cartoon Competition 2018 and 4th Anti-Corruption Photo Competition 2018. H.E. Ms. Winnie Estrup Petersen, the Royal Danish Ambassador to Bangladesh gave away the prizes and also inaugurated the week-long cartoons and photographs exhibition at the DRIK Gallery, Dhanmondi, Dhaka.
At the inauguration of the exhibition and awarding ceremony, Mr. Anders Öhrström, Deputy Head of Mission and Head of Development Cooperation, Embassy of Sweden; and Dr. Luke Mukubvu, Governance and Institutional Adviser- PFM and Service Delivery, DFID Bangladesh were present as Guests. Presided over by TIB Executive Director Dr. Iftekharuzzaman, Chairperson of Board of Trustees, TIB Advocate Sultana Kamal was also present at the event.
This year’s winners in the cartoon competition and the photography competition can be checked here. The cartoons and photographs exhibition at DRIK Gallery will remain opened from 3:00 pm to 8:00 pm daily from today till 13 December, where 61 cartoons including 6 winners and 55 special mention cartoons, 23 photographs including 3 winners and 20 special mention photographs will also be displayed at the exhibition and all the displayed cartoons and photographs can also be viewed online here. A total of 371 cartoonists under two age categories: 13-18 years, and 19-25 years, sent a total of 751 cartoons entries for the 13th competition. Besides, 123 photographers, both professional and amateur sent 496 entries for the 4th anti-corruption photo competition.
Other important demands placed through the IACD celebration events for stakeholder’s consideration were: observe candidate’s expenditure in polls through a committee formed comprising govt. officials, representatives of civil society and NGOs in each and every constituency to reduce influence of black money in the election; ensure exemplary punishment of the corrupt and defaulters related to scams in both public and private debt-laden banks; consolidating implementation of Right to Information Act with increasing efficiency in both the demand and supply side etc.
Aimed at creating greater awareness and motivation among the young generation to SAY NO TO Corruption, the Cartoon competition was organized in two age categories: 13-18 Group A, and 19-25 Group B. A jury board comprising eminent cartoonists of the country selected cartoons from each group. Apart from the best 3 cartoons which receive award money, crest and certificate (1st prize Tk. 75 Thousand, 2nd prize Tk. 50 Thousand & 3rd Prize Tk. 40 Thousand), 35 cartoonists were also selected for recognition as “Special Mention” who received token cash awards and certificate. In the photography competition, 3 photographers were awarded: 1st prize- 1 lac, 2nd prize- Tk. 60 Thousand and 3rd prize- 40,000/- as cheque, crest and certificate. 123 photographers, both professional and amateur sent 496 entries in the competition where 16 Photographers were recognized as ‘Special Mention’ and awarded prize bond of 5000/- and a certificate each. At the event, Syed Nafis Sadiq awarded recognition for winning Transparency International's 20th anniversary Yammer Community Award who earlier bagged three awards in anti-corruption cartoon competitions held in 2008 to 2011.
TIB's this years IACD celebration kicked off with conferring Investigative Journalism Awards 2018 to winning journalists on 6 December in a ceremony held at its central office in Dhaka followed by a discussion meeting on Challenges of Investigative Journalism in perspective of Digital Security Act.
TI-Bangladesh-inspired YES members under Committees of Concerned Citizens (CCCs) in 45 locations of the country observed the day using various social accountability tools, including various cultural events, video show, rallies, human chain, bi-cycle rally and discussion meetings. YES members joined in human chains, rallies, signature campaigns and various awareness-raising activities demanding enabling environment for the anti-corruption fighters to strengthen the movement.