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Dominic Kavakeb
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Leviathan portrays modern Russia as a society of the unjust, where individuals are squashed beneath the power of a corrupt church and political system.

Last night, 13 of the more cultured members of Transparency International UK staff (including me, naturally) went on a little excursion to see Richard Bean’s new play at the National Theatre, Great Britain. Fancy. But it wasn’t exactly non-work related – the production is a “grotesque satire” of the phone hacking scandal which exposed the illegal interception of phones by newspapers within the past decade.

Our thoughts are with the Al Jazeera journalists convicted in Egypt yesterday. The media plays an essential role in the global fight against corruption and acts as a public watchdog on abuses of power. But for many journalists around the world, being threatened, intimidated or imprisoned for doing their job is the norm.

News has broken that Rebekah Brooks has been cleared of all charges in the phone-hacking trial, and Andy Coulson was found guilty of conspiring to hack phones. This is an outcome of one of the most significant corruption scandals in recent years – but what next?

Press freedom is fundamental to the fight against corruption in many countries. However, our 2011 report on Corruption in the UK highlighted concerns over concentration of media ownership and corruption in politics and the police. Read our thoughts on what the new system should look like.

Revelations emerging from the Leveson Inquiry this week have suggested that some UK politicians fail to see the risks of close relationships with the media, and are not able to maintain the safeguards that are essential to ensuring integrity.

As the phone hacking scandal escalates, more and more evidence is emerging highlighting undercurrents of corruption that are embedded in our media, police, and political institutions. The relationship between media ownership and the UK political establishment has come under particular scrutiny over the past few days.

This afternoon the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Paul Stephenson, has confirmed that documents supplied to the police contain evidence that journalists working for the News of the World made ‘inappropriate payments’ to police officers in exchange for information.

Yesterday, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Sue Akers suggested to the Leveson inquiry that some sections of the press have been making regular payments to a network of corrupted public officials.

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