Magazine article The Wilson Quarterly

Covering Corruption

Magazine article The Wilson Quarterly

Covering Corruption

Article excerpt

THE SOURCE: "The Corruption Eruption in East-Central Europe: The Increased Salience of Corruption and the Role of Intergovernmental Organizations" by Alexandru Grigoreseu, in East European Politics and Societies, Summer 2006.

CORRUPTION IS DRAWING more news media attention around the world than it did only a couple of decades ago, but in no region has there been so radical an increase as in east-central Europe. Between 1996 and 2004, the number of stories on political and economic corruption rose seven-fold in the region's six countries.

"Today all of the major newspapers from the area run, on a regular basis, multiple stories about everyday corrupt practices, high-level corruption scandals, or governmental and non-governmental declarations regarding the fight against corruption," writes Alexandru Grigorescu, a political scientist at Loyola University in Chicago. About seven percent of the region's print and broadcast news stories in 2004 that were included in his study dealt with corruption. And there has been action: tougher prison sentences for bribery in the Czech Republic, civil service reform in Poland, and many other measures. High officials accused of illicit activities in Bulgaria and Slovakia have lost their jobs.

Yet Grigorescu isn't about to rhapsodize about the glories of a free press. News media coverage of corruption in other parts of the world has not increased since the mid-1990s, even in areas where the problem is more severe, such as East Asia and Latin America. …

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