Established in 1996, Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) working to prevent and eradicate corruption and improve governance in the public, private, and non-governmental sectors by fostering greater accountability, transparency, and participation. Operating as an arm of the global Transparency International (TI) initiative, TIB uses a multi-pronged information and communication approach that includes a website, information centres, online databases, television and radio, print media, and people's theatre. The group's broad objective is to ensure sustainable economic development and good governance by working as a catalyst of social movement against corruption through research and advocacy programmes for policy change and institutional reform.
Communication Strategies: 

TIB uses various communication approaches and tools in an effort to bring about greater awareness amongst the general public about the nature and extent of corruption in Bangladesh - and to spur action to address this problem. TIB firmly believes that mis-governance can be reduced through concerted citizens' efforts; to that end, one of the core emphases of TIB's work is civic engagement programming at the grassroots level. TIB works to involve and sensitise citizens to the end of forging a network of local stakeholders addressing corruption.

Specifically, TIB has established informal committees of concerned citizens (CCCs) that include people at the local level who together adopt and run various programmes; TIB plays a supportive and motivating role by providing information, ideas, technical assistance and limited financial assistance. The CCCs serve as local pressure groups seeking to curb corruption, instigate reform, and promote integrity in the public sector delivery system. The CCCs function at the local level as watchdog forums and as catalysts for positive change. They work to combat corruption and generate accountability through participation of citizens in order to institute good governance in public service provision and local administration. The CCCs also actively participate in various TIB programmes, such as by taking part in various surveys and research projects.

Advice and information desks (AIDs) support the activities of the CCCs by providing members of the public with basic governance-related information and advice on key areas of public service and their rights and duties. These centres are equipped with a computer, a printer and a dial-up connection to the internet. Information on how to deal with specific forms of corruption as well as details regarding all the legal fees for various procedures (like getting passports, scholarship, grants, and so on) is also available. The AICs have 2 people as permanent staff, who are typically students who volunteer for the activity. As of this writing, there are 3 information centres that serve 8 CCCs; the goal is to set up 3 information centres for each CCC, which means 36 in each division.

Each centre has a people's theatre group that performs in different locations, 47 times a year; plays typically attract 500-700 people. The goal of these theatre groups, which are constituted by mostly student volunteers, is to promote awareness and advocate through street performances that engage and involve the audience. This medium draws on Bangladesh's strong tradition for theatrical representation called Jatra, which has been a tool for both maintaining the oral tradition of stories and legends of popular origin and teaching religious and cultural issues though many generations. It is envisioned as a viral way of advocating and spreading awareness about corruption.

The TIB website is meant to be an official way to show transparency in TIB's own internal processes. It also serves as a tool for: presenting information about TIB; allowing the general public as well as researchers and government institutions to access the results of TIB's and other organisations' research in the form of documents, reports and newsletters; encouraging people to sign up as members and/or to volunteer with TIB; and facilitating the filing of incidents of corruption through the "hotline acts of corruption". The site is in English, but several documents are also available in Bangla.

A corruption database (accessible only by authorised personnel) holds information related to corruption from 25 newspapers in the country; every 6 months a report is produced that is published on the website and also disseminated through traditional media. The database is used as a tool for analyses and follow-up on the cases of corruption from the daily press. The intention is to create awareness about problems which occupy the public and affect the country in its relations with donors and investors in a negative way.

TIB releases a printed newsletter every 6 months which is also posted on the website. A total of 3000 copies are printed in both Bengali and in English and are distributed among various individuals, including policy makers, journalists, lawyers, academics, businessmen, civil society representatives, libraries, donors, diplomats, and TIB members.

In 2004, TIB began producing 30-second TV spots to create awareness about the problematics of corruption. The content of the spots is symbolic and the spots do not directly address specific situations. The plan is to release 4 TV spots a year and extend them to the radio. (Although TV penetration in Bangladesh is limited for the general population, TIB hopes to reach the decision makers who can make a difference in the fight against corruption practices.)

TIB sponsors various awards programmes, including research fellowships, investigative journalism awards, and an essay competition. TIB also facilitates Bangladeshi participation in the global TI Integrity Awards.

Development Issues: 

Democracy & Governance, Rights.

Key Points: 

TIB is concerned about the level, depth, and systemic nature of the problem of corruption in Bangladesh. TIB's newspaper-based Corruption Database Report July-December 2003 shows that reports on 1115 incidents of corruption were published in 23 national and regional newspapers during the last 6 months of 2003. Among these, the government incurred a financial loss of Taka 225 in 253 incidents of corruption. The research showed that ordinary people suffer the most harm due to corruption. After scanning corruption-related reports published in 17 national and 6 regional newspapers (23 in total), TIB found that actions are taken in the case of only 31.4% of the reports; the Bureau of Anti-Corruption took steps in only 3.7% of incidents. TIB feels that there is an immediate need for action to curb the impact and influence of corruption on public and private life.

Partner Text: 

Core funders include the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, the Danish International Development Agency (Danida), and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency. Other organisations that support TIB are: Royal Netherlands Embassy, ActionAid Bangladesh, and Transparency International.


Danida's "Good ICT Practices" website; and TIB website; and email from Muhammad Sajjad Hussein to The Communication Initiative on October 11 2006.