See, It’s the Corruption, Sort Of, Maybe, We Hope.

Indonesia is one of the top 10 most corrupt areas in the world, according to Transparency International.  Now, the media is concerned about corruption hitting the money earmarked for the victims of the tsunami.

When delegates at a tsunami aid world summit in Jakarta tucked into
beef, lamb, chicken and swordfish even as Indonesians scavenged for
food on demolished coastlines, it was perhaps a sign that not all funds
raised for victims would reach those who needed it most.

Now with 10 billion dollars of aid on the
table, at least half of which is earmarked for Indonesia, there are
concerns that such a tasty cash windfall will be nibbled away as it
passes through greedy bureaucratic hands.

The AP story continues on with its alarmist tone, discussing past corruption in Indonesia, building the reader to a fine froth, making them wonder whether their donations will make it to the people who need it most. Oh, but wait a minute:

Despite the concerns, there are
indications that the Indonesian government is taking steps to prevent
corruption as it strives for credibility on an international stage upon
which it is a relative newcomer.

William M. Frej, the official US Agency
for International Development mission director for Indonesia, said that
government officials had hired accounting firm Ernst and Young to
monitor the grants it would receive.

"We have every reason to believe that all
the finance that will be channeled to this country will be utilized in
a very open, transparent way, that there will be a certain amount of
governance involved with it," he said.

Welfare Minister Alwi Shihab said the government would also throw its books open to further inspection.

Halfway through the article, and they finally got around to saying "hey, wait a minute. Folks are doing everything possible to make sure the aid gets to where it is needed." That is why they are wonky. Would I have read the article if the title wasn’t

Indonesia’s corruption culture in spotlight as tsunami aid billions pour in

Probably not. Then the article, as I wrote, sucks you in. Will people make it past the original assessment of previous corruption, and really read and digest the second half? Or would the peruse and skim the second half? Was their a need for the alarmist tenor of the first half? Could they not have started with "The government of Indonesia is taking steps to minimize the corruption that has previously plagued itself."?

As a parting shot, Indonesian officials take a shot at the United Nations:

Some Indonesian government officials,
however, believe that it is perhaps the United Nations that requires
scrutiny, particularly in the wake of a scandal over its tainted
"oil-for-food" programme in Iraq.

"As we know, even in the United Nations
there is a lot of corruption, and we should be careful about this,"
commented Secretary of State Yusril Ihza Mahendra.


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One Response to “See, It’s the Corruption, Sort Of, Maybe, We Hope.”

  1. Patty-Jo says:

    I’m glad to hear they’re taking steps to ensure the proper dispersment of these funds. It’s a good sign.

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