It Belongs to You:

Public Information in the Middle East and North Africa

Corruption Destroys Lives

People have the power
to make a change in the fight
against corruption through
access to information.

Access to information
strengthens transparency and
integrity to prevent corruption
and builds the cornerstone
for accountability.

Every day
ordinary people stand up,
challenge corruption,
and demand to know the truth.
They are an inspiration
to us all.

Follow us
through this documentary
to see what they did
and what you can do to help
everyone live without
corruption.

Yemen

Challenging Secrecy

Sana’a, April 2013

Naif Hassan

Battling impunity in Yemen’s diesel sector

Sana’a, April 2013

Naif Hassan publishes the
independent newspapers Al Sharea and Al Oula
and is editor-in-chief of Al Sharea.

In news articles Hassan has exposed corruption
that has occurred, regardless of the country’s
prevailing political agendas.

Despite the difficulty in accessing information,
Hassan and colleagues did their own research and published a series
of detailed reports on the extent to which diesel smuggling impinges
on Yemen’s state budget.

Ahmed Saif Hashid

A Yemeni lawmaker’s information revolution

Sana’a, April 2013

For six years, Ahmed Saif Hashid worked as a judge
before becoming the publisher of Al Mustaqilla and Yemenat
newspapers. He is also a human rights activist
and independent member of the parliament.

Hashid devoted his life to defending
the rights of Yemenis, calling for social justice
and combating corruption. An important part of his work
is demanding access to public information where the
government does not make it available.

Yemen

We can make a change

Sana’a, April 2013

Palestine

Unanswered information requests

Ramallah and Jenin, June 2013

Baker Shuman

Demanding transparency in land registration in Palestine

Ramallah, June 2013

Baker Shuman, a Ramallah resident,
registered a plot of land with the
Land Authority for the usual fee.

However, the Land Authority subsequently stated
that a mistake had been made and refused to issue
Shuman with the title deed.

Shuman submitted a complaint, but received no response
and attempts to demand information about these additional requirements
have gone unanswered. Shuman suspects others stand to gain
from blocking his access to transparent procedures.

Netham Qalalweh

Challenging nepotism in Palestinian recruitment

Jenin, June 2013

Netham Qalalweh, a 40-year-old from Jenin
who holds two university degrees, applied for a position
at the Jenin Tourism Directorate advertised
for local candidates only.

However, Qalalweh was not even invited for interview
and later learned that the job had been awarded to a non-local candidate.
Qalalweh protested. However, he did not receive the information he requested
from the ministry and so could not objectively compare the
candidate’s qualifications for the job.

Palestine

Our right to know

Ramallah and Jenin, June 2013

Egypt

The value of information

Cairo, May 2013

Ayman Sabae

Promoting transparency in Egypt’s health sector

Cairo, May 2013

Ayman Sabae is a founding partner of Shamseya,
an organisation for innovative community healthcare systems.
Sabae designs the healthcare systems, develops its strategy,
and oversees research, including on documenting models of
formal and informal partnerships in the Egyptian healthcare sector.

Sabae is very concerned about
the state of the healthcare sector in Egypt
and is working to improve access to health
information and transparency.

Mohamed Abdel Raouf

Making healthcare work for communities in Egypt

Cairo, May 2013

Mohamed Abdel Raouf is also a founding partner of Shamseya,
an organisation for innovative community healthcare systems.
Abdel Raouf leads field work and community interventions.

Abdel Raouf has been trying to establish community-based
healthcare approaches that empower people to demand information
access and to formulate their own opinions. He believes the difficulties
in accessing information about Egypt’s healthcare system remain
a chief obstacle in community-centred healthcare approaches.

Egypt

Our right to know

Cairo, May 2013

Morocco

Challenging Secrecy

Casablanca and Rabat, April 2013

Mourad Gartoumi

Market corruption in Morocco

Casablanca, April 2013

Mourad Gartoumi worked as a trader at Casablanca’s
wholesale fruit and vegetable market from the early 1990s,
first as a broker selling and buying agricultural products
and later operating a commercial store inside the market.

Gartoumi has tirelessly worked to uncover and combat widespread
embezzlement in the market’s operations since 2005. He follows the
route of official complaints through the judiciary.

Chakib Al Khayari

Secrecy and injustice in Morocco

Rabat, May 2013

Chakib Al Khayari is a Moroccan human rights
activist and president of the Human Rights Association
of the Rif region in Morocco.

He was arrested on 17 February 2009,
after alleging that Moroccan authorities collaborated
in drug trafficking to Europe. He was released in April 2011.
During this trying period, he received strong support
from people and organisations worldwide.

Morocco

Appeal for information

Casablanca, April 2013

The Issues

Transparency International’s Global Corruption Barometer 2013 reveals that corruption remains a widespread problem internationally, including in the Middle East and North Africa. Corruption often takes place in secret. Access to public information is vital to prevent and uncover corrupt practices.

Yemen

According to Transparency International’s Global Corruption Barometer 2013, 74 per cent of Yemenis felt that the legislature was corrupt or extremely corrupt.

Billions of Yemeni riyal (millions of euros) in public money has gone missing, with severe consequences for the state budget and thus the Yemeni people.

Secrecy and limited access to information have laid the ground for corruption in the diesel sector. Al Sharea released figures for 2007 indicating that diesel and liquefied petroleum gas smuggling cost the country 180 billion Yemeni riyal (€637 million as of July 2013).

Yemenis took to the streets in 2011 to demand an end to corruption and changes in government. But although the government decreed that injured protesters of the 2011 revolution would receive healthcare and compensation from the state to date many have received neither and it is not clear where the money is.

On 1 July 2012 the government issued a strong access to information law, but it took almost one year to appoint an information commissioner and it has yet to issue implementing regulations to make the law’s provisions a reality.

Palestine

In 2004, the Coalition for Accountability and Integrity - AMAN surveyed the severity and types of corruption present in Palestinian society. The survey found wasta (nepotism), or use of undue influence, to be significant. Wasta describes the practice of influential persons intervening on behalf of others to obtain undue advantages, from speeding up procedures, to obtaining jobs and contracts.

Public information and citizens’ ability to access such information is an effective tool to shine a light on obscure processes that open the door to corruption.

The right of access to information remains limited in Palestine. Palestine has no such law. In 2007, the government stopped working on a 2005 civil society drafted access to information law. Nevertheless, 82 per cent of Transparency International’s Global Corruption Barometer 2013 participants in Palestine believed or strongly believed that ordinary people can make a difference in the fight against corruption.

Egypt

In Egypt, 73 per cent of survey respondents perceived medical and health services as corrupt or extremely corrupt and 21 per cent reported having paid health workers a bribe over the previous year, according to Transparency International’s Global Corruption Barometer 2013.

Poor governance, inefficiencies and corruption plague Egypt’s public healthcare sector. Health information is either unobtainable or of poor quality. The public and health practitioners would benefit from clarity about the use of resources. Patients have a right to know about their health and treatment options, as well as price structures.

Access to information is vital to enhancing accountability and the efficient use of public funds in Egypt’s healthcare sector.

Egypt’s Council of Ministers considered a draft access to information law in June 2013, but the military ouster of President Morsi put this legislative initiative on hold.

Morocco

In Morocco, 70 per cent of respondents in Transparency International’s Global Corruption Barometer 2013 believed that the Moroccan judiciary was corrupt or extremely corrupt. 64 per cent reported paying a bribe to the police and 41 per cent reported paying a bribe to the judiciary over the past year.

For years, lawyers have been working to combat widespread corruption in the judicial sector. In October 2012, about 800 judges organised a demonstration in front of Rabat’s Supreme Court, calling for the independence of the judiciary and an end to corruption.

Enabling all Moroccans to have access to public information would enhance transparency in the judiciary. Moroccans said they are ready to take action: 57 per cent of the participants in Transparency International’s Global Corruption Barometer 2013 believed or strongly believed that ordinary people can make a difference in the fight against corruption.

Morocco is in the final stages of adopting an access to information law after the amended 2011 constitution spelled out the right to access information for the first time.

Documents

Yemen resources

Get news and get involved

Contact

Yemeni Team for Transparency and Integrity Telephone: +967 1 538255 Email: info@ytti-ye.org

Noor Ala’a Noor Tower, 5th Floor, Flat No 20 Al-Dairi Street, Sana’a, Yemen

Contact

Ramallah office (headquarters) Tel: +972 2 2989506 / +972 2 2974949

Address: Al-Irsal St. Remawi Building – 1st Floor Ramallah

AMAN’s office Coalition for Accountability and Integrity – AMAN

ALAC Toll free line: 1800 180 180 e-mail: info@aman-palestine.org

Gaza office Tel: + 972 8 2884767 / + 972 8 2884766 E-mail: aman@aman-palestine.org

Address: Al-Halabi St. Al-Hasham Building Gaza

Reports

Networks

MENA Academic Network for Integrity

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Academic Network for Integrity initiative began in January 2013 with Egypt as the hub and focal point for 2013. The academic network initiative works to engage both established and upcoming scholars, policy makers, and civil society activists in the fight against corruption. Activities are envisioned to include the building of online research repositories and communities of scholars, supporting and developing academic research on corruption, and developing learning collaboration between practitioners and academia.

Anti-Corruption Research Network

The Anti-Corruption Research Network (ACRN) is an online platform and the global meeting point for a research community that spans a wide range of disciplines and institutions. ACRN is a podium to present innovative findings and approaches in corruption and anti-corruption research, and a marketplace to announce jobs, events, courses, and funding.

Contact

MENA Academic Network for Integrity +49-30 3438 200 mani@transparency.org

Transparency International MENA Programme +49-30 3438 200 mena@transparency.org

Contact

Transparency Maroc: Casablanca office Telephone: +212 5 22 54 26 99 E-Mail: transparency@menara.ma

Address: 24 Blvd de Khouribga 3e étage Casablanca 20000

ALAC in Rabat: Hotline: 080 100 76 76 Phone: +212 5 37 77 80 01; +212 5 37 68 39 06 Email: cajac@transparencymaroc.ma

Address: Résidence Kays Rue Oum Errabiaa Immeuble D, 3eme étage Appt 14 Agdal Rabat

ALAC in Fès: Hotline: +212 5 35 94 19 16> Phone: 080 100 23 23 Email: cajacfes@transparencymaroc.ma

ALAC in Nador: Hotline: 080 100 23 23 Phone: +212 5 36 33 66 12 Email: cajacnador@transparencymaroc.ma

Join the movement against corruption. Help us to achieve a world in which government, politics, business, civil society, and the daily lives of people are free of corruption. What you can do to help everyone live a life without corruption:

Be informed

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Raise awareness

Use the facilitator package:

The facilitator package provides teachers, lecturers, youth group leaders and others materials that explain how to use the documentary effectively in order to raise awareness about the negative consequences of corruption. The materials also explain how to engage people to stand up against corruption, and to show them what means and tools they can use to advocate for more public information.

Report corruption

Report corruption to our advocacy and legal advice centres or online reporting websites whenever you see or face it. In the Middle East and North Africa region you can contact our chapters:

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About

The project

The film documentary is part of a USAID-funded project, Addressing Corruption Through Information and Organised Networking (ACTION), which Transparency International implemented in Yemen, Palestine, Egypt, and Morocco between September 2010 and September 2013.

The project focuses on enhancing access to public information by means of raising awareness, supporting the use of new media and technology to disseminate public information, and to make recommendations aimed at improving the implementation of regulatory provisions.

In addition to information access, Transparency International also focuses on developing the capacity of civil society, including youth groups.

Acknowledgements

Transparency International dedicates this project to the memory of our colleague Jesse Garcia who inspired this work.

We thank all corruption fighters throughout the world and everyone who contributed to the production of this documentary for their continued efforts to achieve a world free of corruption.

USAID

The American people, through the U.S. Agency for International Development, have provided economic and humanitarian assistance worldwide for over 50 years.

This documentary is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the responsibility of Transparency International and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.

Project lead and coordination:
Transparency International Secretariat Berlin
Transparency International chapters featuring in this documentary:
  • Yemeni Team for Transparency and Integrity
  • Coalition for Accountability and Integrity – AMAN
  • Transparency Maroc
People participating in this documentary:

Yemen:

Naif Hassan, Ahmed Saif Hashid, Ali Hussain Ashal, Ahmed Al Zekry, People’s Theatre (Qasim Abbas Allami, Ayman Al Ansi, Kamal Al Sharmani, Reyadh Al Zandani, Islam Jaber, Khalid Mohammed, Ghada Al Haddad, Mohammed Noman, Shifa Al Shuaibi, Ala'a Nabeel, Sharaf Al Shami), Sameer Abdulateef Aslaan, Sulaiman Hameed Qasim, Aljama'a Alkabeer Bakery and Mohammed Ayidh Al Shaqaqi

Palestine:

Baker Shuman, Netham Qalalweh, Dr. Azmi Shuaibi, Hama Zeidan, Reem Meerae, Ala’ Khreiwish, Raghad Abed, Siwar Karoot, Noor Al Heijah, Wafa’ Abed, Mousa Rimawi, Riham Abu Eita, Sherren Al Khateeb, Mounir Attallah, Maysa Al Ahmad, Fadel Sulaiman, Nahed Abu Teima, Ruba Mahdawi

Egypt:

Ayman Sabae, Mohamed Abdel Raouf, Khaled Fahmy, Basma El Mahdy, Sayed Abu Treika, Boulaq Abou El Ela Citizens’ Committee and 6 April Youth Movement Boulaq Abou El Ela

Morocco:

Mourad Gartoumi, Chakib Al Khayari, Mohamed Ali Lahlou, Yasmina Touma, Abdallah Harsi, Khalid Abdelkrim, Joubail Mohamed

Filming and film production:
  • Mind for Media Innovations and Development
  • Maged Farrag – executive producer
  • Omar Kamel – film director and music
  • Mohamed Hamdy – director of photography
  • Ahmed El Kady – cameraman
Voiceover:
Ibtihal El Serety
Website design and development:
Helios Design Labs
Legal advice:
Arnold & Porter (UK) LLP, Ahmed Ezzat, Bahi Abdeslam, Belal Al Barghouthi, Gamal Al Jabi
Translation and language support:
Amr Khairy Sabry, Matthew Beeston, Mohamed Ghazal

Every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of the information contained in this documentary. All information was believed to be correct as of September 2013. Nevertheless, Transparency International cannot accept responsibility for the consequences of its use for other purposes or in other contexts.

© 2013 Transparency International. All rights reserved.

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