Corruption, Perceptions of Corruption, and Media

Dec 30th, 2011 | By | Category: Pakistan Today, The News

Is the government corrupt? Which department is most corrupt? How much of your answer to these questions is based on hard facts, and how much is based on what you’ve been told by the media?

On 25th December, in a report titled, ‘Military stands at number five among corrupt institutions’The News reporter Usman Manzoor wrote that “sources said military stood at number five among the 10 most corrupt institutions of the country.” Once again, Jang’s sources have let them down.

The actual report, which was released on 28th December, lists the military at number nine. And the report does not list “the 10 most corrupt institutions of the country” – it lists only the 10 institutions TIP asked about.

Unlike the previous surveys, this year the NCPS covers only the basic survey report to measure the perceptions, nature and extent of corruption being faced by consumers of the following ten public sector departments:

1. Police
2. Electricity Supply
3. Health Dept.
4. Education Dept.
5. Military
6. Justice / Courts
7. Revenue / Property Registration
8. Taxation
9. Customs
10. Tendering & Contracting

Local Government has been deleted from the survey, and Military has been added for the first time in the list of departments surveyed

After the report was released, Pakistan Today, however, carried the headline, ‘In the list of corrupt, military among top 10 and ‘independent’ judiciary also climbs’. While not as bad as the headline in The News, it is still factually incorrect.

If reporters had bothered to read as far as the first page of the Foreward, they would have learned that, of the ten institutions covered in the report, “The least two corrupt departments are Education and Military“.

We would not be so bold as to suggest that corruption is not a major problem in society. The media has a role to play in solving this problem by investigating and exposing corruption where it exists. But this requires more than rumours, gossip, and misleading reporting – it requires real journalism.

Oh, and if TIP really wants to stir a hornets nest, perhaps they should do some research on corruption in another institution – media.

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