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Ipaidabribe.com

Ipaidabribe.com is part of a growing trend of civil society-based efforts to tackle corruption by documenting and exposing it. This website is full of stories about people’s daily encounters with governmental corruption in India—bribes paid or not for obtaining passports or birth certificates, for example. Operating in a confessional, anonymous mode, this website exhorts people to “take the first step toward changing the system” by reporting if they paid a bribe, or refused to do so, for routine work. Confessing in front of an interested online public, might shame bribe givers and takers into altering their practices. Sharing information about corrupt acts and officers can also help other citizens by arming them with knowledge. And finally, these stories allow the website managers to contact the media and government to expose and root out corruption. Everyday corruption, when appropriately documented and exposed by “citizen-reporters” who actively participate in graft, can presumably do “good” and improve governance. Or so it is believed. Arvind Kejriwal, the Chief Minister of New Delhi, also took a similar approach when he instated an anticorruption hotline in January 2014: “The people of Delhi will have to work collectively to do away with corruption… So we are making every citizen of Delhi an anticorruption crusader and his phone is his biggest weapon… If anyone asks you for a bribe, you should immediately record it. Like a sting. Audio or video recording.” Once reported, these recordings would enable the anticorruption department to “lay a trap and take that officer into custody.”

 

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Participant: Anu (Aradhana) SHARMA
Dept. of Anthropology | Wesleyan University
Presentation: "Sweeping the System, the State, and the Soul: The Technomoral Politics of Corruption in India"