Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 08/2010

Covering Corruption: The Difficulties of Trying to Make a Difference

Rosemary Armao

July 2010

National Endowment for Democracy


It is often taken for granted that a free press shining a light on wrongdoing is the way to control corruption. The World Bank, with an eye to the economic potential of honest government, promotes this, as do United Nations agencies and the U.S. and European governments, which spend millions of dollars to develop media with corruption-fighting power. And brave journalists have endured threats and attacks and have even died reporting about corruption. In June and July of 2010 alone, three Philippino and a Greek journalist-working in different media and on different topics, but all exposing corruption-were gunned down. Covering corruption is more dangerous than covering war.