Who do you pay to be in the news here?
Rick once spent a vexing half-hour detained in Kinshasa's airport security so a greedy functionary could rail at him about the media. Then, smiling sweetly, the functionary demanded $20 to let him leave the building.
Bribes are not an uncommon request for some journalists. What's new is the number more accustomed to receiving them.
In Peru, it's called "mermelada". In China, they like it in red envelopes. And in Madagascar, they just call it a "tip," given to ensure the reporting of a story a certain way.
The report calls bribery "a single problem with many faces."
Here's an excerpt from the report's short glossary of bribery, called "What colour is your envelope":
Brown envelopes: This is the common term in much of sub-Saharan Africa and refers to the color of the envelopes found in every supermarket or stationery store. Conveniently, it's hard to see through them to the money inside.
Red envelopes: That's the variation in China, based on the more innocent tradition of giving holiday gifts in such envelopes.
Soli: That's what journalists call it in Ghana--a short form of the word "solidarity," which is how they feel as a group in expecting these small payments.
Jeansa: That's the term in Ukraine, where politicians and businessmen often pay reporters to write stories favorable to them. The term comes from the blue jeans that reporters commonly wear.
Ndalama yamatako: The Zambian term apparently translates literally as "money of the buttocks"-- but journalists use it to mean "sitting allowance," something to sweeten the experience of sitting in all those press conferences.
Tips: in Madagascar reporters typically earn about $40 a month and routinely receive envelopes with money from th organizers of press conferences to cover transportation costs. The envelopes frequently include extra money, or "tips," ranging from $10 to $50, to encourage favorable coverage. Sometimes their editors receive tips three times larger.
Zakazukha: This Russian slang phrase has, in the context of journalism, come to generically mean "pay for publicity," originating in the idea of "order for the story"-- as in ordering a dish in a restaurant.
(source: Cash For Coverage,Center for International Media Assistance)
According to the report, a recent survey of Cambodian journalists found a quarter of them know somebody who's taken a bribe to write a favorable story. And thirty-five per cent know someone who's taken money to stop them filing a bad one.
It's all familiar to Kay Kimsong, the editor-in-chief of the Phnom Penh Post's Khmer-language edition.
Here's his View from Cambodia...
Share your stories of kickbacks and bribery in the places you've been, at our email address.
Categories: The View from Here
|Radio One||Thursday 1 pm, 1:30 pm NT Sunday 7 pm, 8 pm AT and 8:30 pm NT|
|Sirius 137||Friday at Midnight & 9 am, Sunday at 10 pm|
- Ahead of Trump's inauguration, Washington braces for well-wishers and protests
- Whether coming in celebration or in protest, making the trip to Washington for Donald Trump's inauguration might just be the biggest hassle in the United States. Yet despite D.C.'s shuttered streets and barricaded intersections, an estimated 800,000 people are expected to watch the president-elect take the oath of office Friday.
- Avalanche destroys Italian hotel, 2 bodies found and dozens of people missing video
- Hopes of finding survivors dwindled on Thursday more than 24 hours after an avalanche struck a luxury mountain hotel in Italy, burying up to 30 people under tonnes of snow and debris.
- CBC IN CHINA In the Year of the Rooster, China's leadership sizes up Trump
- Leaders in China wonder whether they should take the incoming U.S. president's pronouncements seriously, writes Sasa Petricic.
- Steven Mnuchin, Trump's treasury nominee, grilled by Senate about banking record
- U.S. president-elect Donald Trump's choice for treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, defends his banking record in the aftermath of the financial crisis, and Energy Department nominee Rick Perry faces questions about creating jobs in the energy industry during Senate hearings in Washington, D.C.
- Iran says 30 Tehran firefighters killed as burning highrise collapses video
- A highrise building in Tehran engulfed by a fire collapsed on Thursday, killing at least 30 firefighters and injuring roughly 75 people, state media reported.