OECD Observer
Fighting corruption one YouTube video at a time

Some young people are walking down a busy street. A man with a video camera stops them and asks some questions about what they like best about their country. They say they like the food, the beach, and a few other things. Then the man asks what they don’t like about their country. The conversation soon turns to corruption. Want to get your driving licence? “Bribing’s the only way to pass the test.” Want to get your student papers without having to wait forever? “Throw in an extra €10.”

We are on Ermou Street in Athens’ shopping district. The interviewer is Konilo, who is one of Greece’s most popular video bloggers, or vloggers. The interviewees are from the city, and they’re talking about corruption in their daily lives, in between raptures about the country’s delicious food.

Getting young people to talk about corruption and then do something about it is the goal of a Greece-OECD campaign, called “Engaging Youth in the Fight against Corruption”. Four influential Greek vloggers produced YouTube videos for the award-winning campaign. Konilo‘s video has already reached about half a million viewers. The other vloggers in the campaign are Venetia Kamara and Mary Sinatsaki, who reach beauty and fashion audiences, and Manos, who uses comedy. They each attack corruption in their own particular way.

The OECD, Greece and the European Commission launched the Greece-OECD project in 2016 to reduce corruption in the country. The project helps bolster implementation of the National Anti-Corruption Action Plan, which came into effect in 2013, and was revised in 2015. Beyond engaging young people, the rest of the project focuses on law enforcement and internal auditing of public institutions and ministries.

Why did the campaign choose YouTube? For a start, YouTube has become one of the most dynamic and influential platforms in Greece, with 94% of users aged 15-24 visiting the platform every week. Millions of young people follow vloggers whom they relate to as ordinary people with the same ordinary concerns and interests as themselves. And thanks to social networks, the videos soon go viral, generating more engagement and more conversations about fighting corruption.

In fact, Konilo's video shot to number one on YouTube in Greece soon after it was published. The four videos received 62,000 reactions, and reached their target audience with the age group of 13-34 making up 78% of viewers. To crown this success, the campaign won two Greek Social Media Awards in the categories of “Best Collaboration with YouTube Influencers” and “Best Use of YouTube in a Campaign”.

Corruption will not end overnight, but initiatives like the Greece-OECD campaign can certainly raise awareness. The campaign demonstrated the real potential of civic engagement and highlighted the bright side of social media: that of a tool allowing also to engage young people and to facilitate discussions about difficult issues. It also drives home the point that every act counts in the fight against corruption, whether asking for a receipt at the shop or refusing to bribe driving instructors and doctors. Hopefully the next time Konilo interviews young people on Ermou Street they will continue to praise the food, but corruption won’t leave a bitter taste anymore.

References and links

Visit http://www.oecd.org/corruption/ethics/youth-anti-corruption-campaign.htm

To learn more about the Greece-OECD project, visit http://www.oecd.org/corruption/greece-oecd-anti-corruption.htm

To learn more about the Greek Social Media Awards and watch the ceremony, visit http://www.socialmediaawards.gr/?cachbuster=0&utm_campaign=direct&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email#watchLive

Learn about the 2019 OECD Anti-Corruption & Integrity Forum at http://www.oecd.org/corruption/integrity-forum/

©OECD Observer No 317, Q1 2019