Digital media, transparency and the war against corruption

Digital media, transparency and the war against corruption and in developing countries

Corruption is highly damaging to economic and social life through misappropriation of public funds, restriction of open market activity, favouritism towards families of those in power and the many detrimental effects of rent-seeking.

The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on developing countries brings the prospect of reduced national revenues unless and until these countries can address their corruption challenges.

In this piece David Fellows and John Leonardo review evidence for the power of transparency to reduce corruption and improve economic performance. They then consider the increasing relevance of digital media, particularly social media, to the transparency agenda and how its application can be encouraged.

Social media is fast becoming an important form of popular communication throughout the developing world. Governments can use social media to seek public support for anti-corruption activities, including reporting corrupt practices, complaining about unfair decisions and observing the accumulation of unexplained wealth by politicians and officials.

Such engagement is, however, dependent on the demonstration of government integrity, the recognition of public priorities and the provision of basic information on services and funding made available to local communities.

The international development community can encourage governments to uphold press freedom, protect whistle-blowers and use social media as part of the transparency process, and scale up its support to countries that are pursuing effective anti-corruption policies.

[The full article was published by the IMF and can be found on the PFMConnect website at]

About the Authors:

David Fellows
 is an international development PFM advisor who previously worked extensively in UK local government finance and in the Cabinet Office as an advisor on public service reform. He was a leader in the introduction of digital communication in UK public service delivery. He is a director of PFMConnect, a public financial management consultancy:

John Leonardo John Leonardo is a PFM expert with extensive worldwide experience including institutional strengthening and public engagement pertaining to PFM activities. He is a director of PFMConnect.

About PFMConnect:

PFMConnect is an online consultancy dedicated to improving public financial management (PFM) and exploiting the potential of digital communication to improve public engagement. The company has a particular focus on international development.

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