BBC News Story Update

16 05 2010

The BBC news feature, in which four artists are interviewed in New York, is now re-scheduled to be broadcast on several BBC channels on June 1st.  The UK election, and the post-election saga, prevented early broadcasting of the piece.

The Amazing Photo Story of a Sudanese Ex-Child Soldier

11 04 2010

The BBC has an excellent photographic story of a Sudanese ex-child soldier. The slideshow by Lucy Fleming was produced by Steve Scott and Phil Coomes. Photos are by Save the Children’s Colin Crowley and Lucy Fleming. See the full slideshow

BBC News Feature on AAC

11 04 2010

Artists Against Corruption (AAC) is the feature of a BBC news story to be broadcast soon. The story features four American artists who were recently interviewed by Humphrey Hawksley whilst in New York.

This will be the first major media exposure for the project, but definitely not the last. We have already been invited to take part in the International Anti Corruption Conference in Bangkok this November (14th IACC), expected to create more media coverage.

The day in New York went exceptionally well and demonstrated that the aims of AAC will be achieved. The organisation was established based on the belief that only artists are capable of communicating the complexities of what is meant by corruption, and the diversity of the direct and in-direct consequences of it. In working with artists this way, our aim is to increase awareness, reduce tolerance and intensify pressure on those that are corrupt, and those that can end corruption.

The four artists, a sculptor, a painter and two multi-media artists expressed several forms of corruption such as greed and dictatorship, and consequences such as genocide, war and  human rights abuses.

Each of the artists Jay Critchley (Provincetown, MA), Joy Garrett (NYC) , Barbara Cohen (Provincetown MA and NYC) and Chin Chih Yang (NYC), had different, often personal, reasons for being involved in the project. Painter, Barbara Cohen is Jewish and is appalled that the “never again” pledges made after the Holocaust have, and continue to be, broken. And Chin Chih Yang says his thoughts on corruption are directly related to his childhood in Taiwan.

Each of the artists feelings about their involvement in the project can best be summed up by a statement Chin Chih Yang made. He said, “AAC grants artists a chance to work with other like-minded artists in a common struggle: a joint endeavor as exigent as it is exciting. Perhaps we can accomplish more together than can be achieved in the single vision of any individual artist. This, at least, is what I hope for.”

We will add clips of the interviews when they have been broadcast. In the meantime we are preparing the profiles of each artists involved. We would also invite other artists to contact us if they would like to take part in the campaign.

Bribery & Corruption: Central Issues in UK Elections

9 04 2010

Artists Against Corruption predicts that Bribery & Corruption will be recurring themes in the UK´s national election campaigns which began this week. Perhaps in an effort to demonstrate it is against corruption, and off-set the damage of the MP´s expenses scandals, the Labour Party this week passed the Bribery Bill in one of the last acts of the government.

The fraudulent expenses claims of British MP´s hit the news headlines in the UK on several occasions over the last year or so, and we can expect this issue to raise it´s head during the elections. Lasting damage was done to the credibility of the labour government and to the whole institution of government in the UK. The passing of the Bribery Bill goes some way to making amends, but was required action as a result of corporate scandals by large companies such as BAE systems, and in order to ensure the UK falls into line with tougher anticorruption measures required by international conventions that the UK has subscribed to. It will also help reverse the UK´s declining position on transparency International´s Corruption Perception Index.

But, no sooner has the Bill been passed than the Labour party, and senior figures in the party, are being linked to a major corruption scandal exposed in the Guardian Newspaper today. Their association with a businessman, his donations to the party, and various appointments he received, are all mentioned. According to the paper, “Victor Dahdaleh, a London-based aluminium trader, has had his Belgravia premises searched by the Serious Fraud Office, and offshore bank accounts linked to him are being examined in the Isle of Man and Channel Islands. He is also under criminal investigation by the US department of justice.”

Artists Against Corruption welcomes the passing of the Bribery Bill, and hopes that the next government will support the enforcement of it by giving clear guidance and additional resources to the Serious Fraud Office. Without these steps the Bill will be worthless. During the campaign we hope that all parties will state their support for the measure and make pledges to finance its enforcement. 

Announcement of the passing of the Bribery Bill

News of the new Labour Party link to Corruption

UPDATE: BBC Feature on Artists Against Corruption

28 03 2010

The interviews on Friday in New York were a great success according to the journalist Humphrey Hawksley who sent me the following message at the end of the day:  “Paul, the shoot has just finished and it was excellent. Brilliant people”.   The artists involved were similarly happy with the way things went.   Now we await the date of the broadcast.

My last post about this shoot in New York mentioned the story of the photographer’s concerns about possible reprisals and his wish to remain anonymous. In the end he chose not to do the interview out of concern for the safety of his family.   But, all was not lost.   We will be using the images under the pseudonym El Bailar (The Dancer), a double entendre which the photographer chose because as he explained “in contemporary street language to dance is to fight!”  The name El Bailar will now be used for a global campaign. 

The El Bailar Photography project is Artists Against Corruption’s first international campaign.  The project already has the support of the world´s largest anti-corruption agency, Transparency International.   Photographers around the world are encouraged to produce a banner similar to that in the image below.

The banner should then be used to highlight the consequences of corruption with one or more photographs, which should be submitted with news about the particular corruption case (maximum 500 words).

On this site, we will tell the stories and maintain an image bank.  We encourage photographers to build campaign momentum by passing the banner on to another photographer in another region when they have finished using it themselves. 

The objective of the campaign is to raise awareness of the scale of the problem and the diversity of its consequences.  Our aim is to influence the policies and actions  of individuals, organizations and governments by portraying corruption in this very powerful way. 

Images should be sent to

BBC Feature on Artists Against Corruption

26 03 2010

Today the BBC´s Humphrey Hawksley is in New York to interview five artists for a news feature on Artists Against Corruption. It will be broadcast internationally. With less than a weeks notice we managed to pull together a great group of artists: photographer, sculptor, painter, multimedia and performance artist.

The gathering of these artists has already produced results. The photographer involved did not have appropriate images as of Monday this week, but managed to get a banner produced with the wording, “Closed Due to Mismanagement of Funds”, and used this in a series of shots of a hospital, park, public space and play ground, all in his home town.

The full story of this shoot is documented in Case Study 1: The First AAC Inspired Campaign, but in summary we can tell you that it became a great story in itself, demonstrating the problem of exposing corruption. Out of fear for the safety of his family, the photographer in question asked that his work be published under a  pseudonym El Bailar to hide is identity. This is the fear of reprisal felt in an American city. So, imagine the fear a whistle-blower may feel if they live in a dictatorship! This is why corruption is often never exposed!

Having overcome his fear by hiding his identity, we are still able to use his images to launch what we hope will be an international campaign. AAC calls on photographers around the world to follow this example. To create a banner with the same wording, but in your own language, and take similar images. Send the images with the related story (max. 500 words) to Please include your contact details.

Our plan is to use these images to produce future media coverage, all with the aim of generating awareness of the consequences of corruption, and the scale of the problem.

BBC New Feature on Artists Against Corruption

25 03 2010

Tomorrow (26th March) BBC´s Humphrey Hawksley will be interviewing five New York based artists for a news feature that will promote Artists Against Corruption. They mediums they work in include sculptors, photography, painting, multi-media, cinema and performance.

Watch this space for news of the interviews, details of the artists and dates of broadcasts.

Food Aid Diverted to Corrupt Contractors

11 03 2010

The BBC today reported that, ” Up to half the food aid in Somalia is diverted to corrupt contractors, local UN workers and Islamist militants” according to a leaked UN report. The report, by the UN monitoring group in Somalia, is particularly critical of the UN’s own World Food Programme and recommends an independent inquiry. Full Story

Nigeria Charges Ex-Governor With Embezzling $100M

4 03 2010

Reuters reports that, “Nigeria’s anti-graft police have charged a former state governor with embezzling 15 billion naira, court papers showed on Thursday, in the first such case since Acting President Goodluck Jonathan assumed executive powers.” Full Report

Jordan Arrests Ex-Minister and Three Others

4 03 2010

A military tribunal on Thursday ordered the remand into custody of four Jordanians, including a former finance minister, over corruption charges, overturning an earlier decision to let them out on bail, one of their lawyers is quoted as saying in Agence France-Presse Full Article