You may have heard of American Idol and Pakistan Idol and all those contests that acknowledge different artists in the stream of music. But there is a new talk of the town, the Integrity Idol. This is a rather different kind of a program than the other Idols. Here the participants will be government officials, public will be the judge and participants will not be judged on their singing talents but only and only on the parameters of honesty and dedication. Yes! you read it right, “honest and dedicated” government officials.
Integrity Idol is a global campaign that started in Nepal in 2014, then reached Liberia in 2015 and has now set its foot in Pakistan. As the name suggests, this campaign is an initiative taken to recognize and honor those civil servants of Pakistan who have been working with integrity and veracity. The purpose of this drive is to make people quit beating around the idea that good and hardworking government employees are completely non-existent. The belief that the system is tainted and blemished by the wrong doers and the same cannot be fixed, needs to be uprooted. This is exactly what Integrity Idol brings to Pakistan, where everyone seems to be playing the blame game and at a time, where political and interest groups are always at each other’s throat. Integrity Idol aims to be the ray of the sunshine in the dark alley of corruption in Pakistan.
So, here’s the drill. The procedure is pretty simple and transparent. Local teams of volunteers will travel across the country in the search of officials who hit the brief. Public forums will be hosted to generate a national discourse on the requirement of honest and sincere public servants where citizens will nominate their candidates. After a careful downsizing of the nominees, five most befitting candidates for the award will be shortlisted with the help of independent expert panels. Then this campaign will make its appearance in the public sphere. The shortlisted nominees will be filmed and the episodes will be played on national forums like television and radio both offline and online. Citizens will be voting for their favorites through SMS short codes and the websites. Candidates chosen by this public voting will then be crowned in a national ceremony in the capital.
This contest is brought to Pakistan by the Accountability Lab in collaboration with Loug trust. It was launched in a ceremony held at National Press Club on Friday, 5th August 2016. The event was attended by various members of print and electronic media outlets along with civil society representatives, government officials and parliamentarians. Blair Glencorse, who brought this campaign into being, was quoted saying,
With Integrity Idol we are “naming and faming” the do-gooders- the thousands of reformers who have honesty and integrity and are working for the public good. This gives us all a sense that there is a different reality that we can help to build; and gives these heroes a renewed sense of purpose
In the world of evil doers vs. do-gooders, the balance is somewhat tilted towards the former. In our daily lives where we constantly grind away at the corrupt people, we forget to recognize those who make us proud. Not all eggs are rotten and not everyone is self-consumed. Blaming the system is not the correct way to bring positive reforms in the policies of the government. It will also not help eradicate corruption in any form. Corruption is a disease that has sullied our country’s reputation and is exponentially spreading through our political system. Therefore, to stop this evil from completely damaging our country, we need to make people stand accountable for what they do. On the other hand we need to appreciate people for their honesty and deliverance as civil servants so as to build a network of employees who could shift behaviors over time. This campaign, if not the solution, is an exceptional start towards better civil service. So let’s make way for Integrity Idol Pakistan.