How can civil society and the media help build integrity and reduce the risk of corruption in the defence and security sectors? This chapter argues that civil society and the media can play a key oversight role in the defence sector and build public support for more accountable democratic governance. Efforts are needed to promote an enabling environment for civil society and the media. Initiatives should include ongoing dialogue to foster cooperation and trust between the government, civil society (broadly defined) and the media.
Civil society organisations (CSOs) can help to counterbalance the power of the state, oppose authoritarianism and ensure that the state is not controlled by vested interests. The media can act as a watchdog by exposing corruption and can help to promote good governance and accountability by providing accurate, balanced and timely information that is of interest and relevance to the public.
Civil society and the media have a critical role to play in building a culture of integrity within security institutions. However, in practice, they have played a limited role in fragile and transition states, as well as in more advanced democracies and especially NATO alliance countries. A number of key challenges preventing civil society and media engagement are noted in the following contexts:
Efforts are needed to increase civil society and government integrity-building partnerships in situations where such mutually-beneficial relationships are lacking or inadequate. It is important to promote change in public attitudes and practices by fostering ongoing dialogue, cooperation and trust between the government, civil society and the media. Civil society should be understood in a broad sense (including trade unions and women’s groups) rather than simply as “establishment-friendly” organisations.
Author: Ian Davis
Source: Davis, I., 2010, 'The Role of Civil Society and the Media', in Building Integrity and Reducing Corruption in Defence: A Compendium of Best Practices, ed. T. Tagarev, Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF), Geneva, pp261-280
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