BENGALURU: In its war against corruption, the multi-pronged approach of the US Government involves working with its allies and partners around the world, holding individuals accountable and helping journalists, whose role in the fight against corruption is critical.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) had announced a suite of new programmes as part of the Summit for Democracy process last year.
"The first is the Empowering Anti-Corruption Change Agents Program, which will boost support to frontline actors in civil society and media who are exposing corruption and speaking truth to power. This includes journalists, who play such a critical role in bringing to light vast corruption schemes," said Executive Director, USAID, Shannon Greene, while addressing select journalists from across the globe during the anti-corruption virtual reporting tour (VRT) organized by the US State Department. Greene also serves as a senior advisor to the Administrator of USAID.
Recognising the role of journalists in the fight against corruption and the risk they run including risk to life and spurious lawsuits, she informed that the USAID is creating a new Defamation Defense Fund so that journalists have access to insurance and can withstand the financial pressures they inevitably face in doing this work. Greene added that addressing the transnational threat of corruption requires building new pathways for collaboration with the journalists, activists, small and medium enterprises, and government supporters that USAID partners with and supports, but also internally within the US Government.
James Walsh, principal deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs at the US State Department said that in "response to the threat of corruption over the last several decades, the United States has leveraged diplomatic and foreign assistance tools to support preventative measures and criminal justice responses to promote the enforcement of international anti-corruption obligations, and to strengthen domestic anti-corruption laws, institutions, and regulations."
Speaking about the multipronged approach adopted by various US agencies to counter corruption, Director Barry Fullerton from the Office of Global Programs and Policy, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, US Department of State said, they preserve and strengthen the multilateral anti-corruption architecture, improve the US diplomatic engagement on anti-corruption and leverage foreign assistance to fight against corruption.
He added that the US has renewed its commitment and leadership across multi-lateral fora to advance their "priorities through engagement in the UN convention against corruption, the G7, the G20, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and regional bodies such as the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum, the Organization of American States, and the Council of Europe. In each of these fora, we are promoting implementation of international anti-money laundering and anti-corruption obligations and standards."
Explaining the role of USAID, Greene said that they balance their support and media to "serve as watchdogs and expose corruption, with the equally critical work of enhancing the effectiveness, independence, and accountability of public sector institutions."
She spoke about the Global Accountability Program, which will strengthen US frameworks for fighting transnational corruption, including by ending opaque business practices, combating kleptocracy, disrupting the movement of illicit finance and goods, and enhancing the ability of countries to not just prevent but also to detect and investigate corrupt actors and networks.
"And then finally, on partners, we are really trying to expand the partners that USAID engages with, because it is those partners who are so instrumental in the fight against corruption," added Greene.