* ACTA forum highlights role media in enhancing transparency
The Administrative Control and Transparency Authority (ACTA) on Thursday held a forum on the role of media in enhancing the values of integrity and transparency.
Several Qatari officials, foreign dignitaries and senior mediapersons took part in the event that was attended by a considerable number of people representing all components of the local mass media communications industry.
Speaking to journalists, ACTA Chairman HE Hamad bin Nasser al-Misned stressed the importance of the forum and described it as a good new initiative for enhancing the active partnership between the Authority and the various entities of the country, in addition to stressing the role of media in promoting awareness about the need for transparency and fighting corruption.
He also pointed out that the wise leadership of the country has provided the adequate tools to fight all potential forms of corruption and offered due support accordingly.
Introducing the discussion panel of the forum, Hassan al-Dosari, director of ACTA Legal Affairs Department, pointed out that fighting corruption and maintaining transparency was a process that could be only done through the collaborative efforts of all the stakeholders and related entities. He said that media played a key role in this, and the ongoing blockade against the country has constituted an ethical test for the Qatari community, which has maintained its high ethical values all through the crisis in spite of the various provocations of the media in the siege countries.
"We respect our principles and high ethical traditions even throughout disputes and struggles because we respect ourselves above all. The media can play a positive role and the door of ACTA will remain open and welcoming for all," he said.
The panel discussion on the main topic of the forum featured four speakers - two from Qatar, one each from Oman and Kuwait - in addition to the moderator.
Amal al-Kuwari from ACTA talked about the role of media in supporting the vision, mission and targets of the Authority that aimed at enhancing the values of transparency and integrity and the campaign against corruption. The second topic was presented by Dr Mohamed Buzabir from Kuwait Anti-Corruption Authority, who talked about directing the public opinion with integrity and transparency to unify the efforts of fighting corruption.
The third topic was presented by Mansur bin Hammoud al-Harithi, from Oman State Audit Institution. He talked about the media experience of Oman State Audit Institution in enhancing transparency and integrity.
The fourth topic was presented by Qatari mediaperson Abudlaziz al-Isshaq on the importance of directing media, in particular the new media and social media, to raise the awareness about the dangers of corruption and its various forms and how to fight it.
The speakers underlined the need for creating effective and active partnership among the state's anti-corruption entities, the public, the media and the various government bodies to unify and intensify the efforts of fighting corruption. The speakers pointed out that such sustained efforts should be ongoing and evolving to maintain the well-being of any country and its administrative apparatuses.
Al-Kuwari started by giving a simple definition for corruption as the abuse of power and authority to achieve private or personal interests. To fight corruption, she suggested that there should be a mechanism that enhances transparency, integrity, audit and accountability.
She pointed out that access to public information is key to such a mechanism. The media could help the process through spreading the main values and ethics of integrity that should be upheld within the society and simultaneously condemn all types of corruption through reporting them and showing their negative impacts.
She said that ACTA has worked on many related projects including a draft employee integrity code, a draft law on the conflict of interests, suggestion for amendments to the penalty and criminal procedure codes and a draft transparency law.
Dr Buzabir gave various examples on the role of media in unveiling different cases of corruption in Kuwait and how these were addressed accordingly in co-operation with the related entities there. He said that the partnership with the various means of media, including social media users, should be encouraged to further promote the fight against the various forms of corruption at all levels and in all fields. He also stressed the importance of encouraging the local media to further enhance their efforts in this regard.
Similarly, al-Harithi talked about the efforts of Oman State Audit Institution in maintaining transparency at various government departments and its co-operation with local media in this regard.
Al-Isshaq highly appreciated the efforts of Qatar in enhancing the role of media in the country, in particular the creation of the Media City according to Law No 13 for 2019 issued by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani. He said that this could encourage the promotion of investigative journalism in Qatar, which in turn could play a positive role in the fight against corruption. He stressed the need to find a mechanism to increase the budget allocated to the media in this regard and find effective ways to protect journalists who unveil cases of corruption.