U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre

This Anti-Corruption Helpdesk brief was produced in response to a query from a U4 Partner Agency. The U4 Helpdesk is operated by Transparency International in collaboration with the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre based at the Chr. Michelsen Institute.


Can you please give a short overview on corruption in the media in developing countries? Are there any recommendations, activities, best practices, structures (also inside the media) to counteract corrupt practices?


1. Corruption in the media
2. Fighting corruption in the media
3. References
4. Additional Information


The media are often referred to as the fourth pillar in democracy. They have a key role to play in monitoring and investigating the actions of those in power and informing citizens about them. Yet, the media and journalists are not immune to corruption. While there is only limited research and awareness on corruption within the media, there is a broad consensus that the development of independent, legally protected, professionally managed, and economically viable news media is essential for ensuring accountable, responsible and ethical media. In developing countries, the media is often confronted to a combination of factors that create fertile grounds for corruption, such as lack of training and technical skills, low professional standards, limited financial resources, opaque or government controlled ownership structures, inadequate and undemocratic legal frameworks. Types of corruption in the media vary from bribery in the form of cash for news, staged or fake news, gift giving, concealed advertisement and advertisements to nepotism and media capture by vested private or political interests. Fighting corruption in the media can involve a wide range of approaches, varying from raising awareness of ethical standards, strengthening the freedom of the press, introducing adequate media policies and legislation, promoting media accountability as well as supporting investigative journalism through technical training.


Mara Mendes, Transparency International, [email protected]


Marie Chêne, Transparency International, [email protected] and Robin Hodess, Transparency International, [email protected]




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