Coalition 2000 Starts Implementing Media against Corruption BTA - 2000/4/22
Coalition 2000, that includes 7 non-governmental organizations (NGOs), starts implementing a Media against Corruption programme. Coalition 2000 Coordinator Emil Tsenkov said this at a working meeting in the Centre for the Study of Democracy Friday. Under the programme NGOs and journalists will cooperate and take part in round tables and seminars on: "Corruption in the Media", "Local Campaigns for Transparency", "Investigative Journalism against Corruption", "Political Scientists and Journalists against Corruption", etc. Coalition 2000 plans to institute an award for best investigative journalist, said Tsenkov. The participants in the Friday meeting discussed the problem of closer cooperation between NGOs and journalists, the lack of limitations to the access to information and of transparency in the operation of the state institutions and the necessity that the Interior Ministry, the investigative, prosecutor's and court authorities complete investigations and inspections started by the media given that they have the necessary means and instruments to do so. A 1999 survey by Coalition 2000 showed that the issue of corruption was given high prominence in the last three months of the year. The survey covered nine national dailies, three weeklies and part of the electronic media programmes. It gradually became a leading issue. At the beginning of the year the papers tended to report separate cases of corruption while later they switched to more analytical coverage of the problem. According to a report on the survey, 1,796 stories on corruption were published in September-December 1999 which compares with 356 in the first quarter of the year under review. Facts and evidence are quoted in 37 per cent of the paper stories and 58 per cent of the electronic media broadcasts. Fifty-eight per cent of the corruption stories were leading ones. The focus of media attention has shifted from lower to higher levels of state administration. The report points as shortcomings the politicizing of the issue and the bias shown in its coverage. The media succeeded to assume the role of an important instrument for anti-corruption pressure, the authors of the report say in conclusion.

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