New Podcast Episode, Featuring Alina Mungiu-Pippidi

A new episode of KickBack: The Global Anticorruption Podcast is now available. In this week’s episode, I interview Professor Alina Mungiu-Pippidi of the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin about the development of her interest in corruption, how her research led her to theorize about, and empirically document, a basic distinction between “particularism” and “ethical universalism” as organizing principles of governance, and what sorts of future research are needed in order to deepen our understanding about how to bring about a transition from the former to the latter. Professor Mungiu-Pippidi also shares her views on how external actors can help–but also how they may inadvertently make the problem worse.

You can find this episode, along with links to previous podcast episodes, at the following locations:

KickBack is a collaborative effort between GAB and the ICRN. If you like it, please subscribe/follow, and tell all your friends! And if you have suggestions for voices you’d like to hear on the podcast, just send me a message and let me know.

4 thoughts on “New Podcast Episode, Featuring Alina Mungiu-Pippidi

  1. Do you still keep your opinion about the leaks regarding Lava Jato? I am asking because you were interviewed by a far right newspaper in Brazil defending Moro and Dalagnol (with whom you claim you have a friendship) but in the light of recent leaks, I wonder if you keep all your statements, including the ones where you affirm that the purpose of these leaks is against ‘Lava Jato’ and not the unethical behaviour of Sergio Moro? Do you also still believe that this is ideologically driven, and that the messages were hacked? Where did you get this information? Also, in light of the recent alliances made by Intercept and Folha as well as Reinaldo Azevedo, both whose editorial lines clearly favoured Lava Jato and were anti-PT how do you feel about the things you said?

    • Thanks for asking. I’m still pondering what I think about the more recent revelations. I’ve tried running the Portuguese stories through Google translated, but because the nuances of the language are so important here, I’ve also asked a Brazilian lawyer whom I trust to translate the most important sections (including the text messages themselves). I know that these days there’s a lot of pressure for instantaneous commentary, but especially given that I’m an outsider here, I want to take some more time to think through the issues before further commentary on the ethics of the leaks. I’ve also reached out to some Brazilian legal experts, on opposite sides of that issue, and invited them to provide commentary, which I hope will be helpful in sorting through the legal/ethical issues involved.

      As for the interview with Crusoe magazine, I haven’t seen the published version (which of course I’d need to translate), so I’m not sure whether my comments to them were portrayed accurately and with the proper context. I’m also looking into this.

      On the substantive issue you raise about the motive for the leaks, I do think that the more likely explanation is that it’s an outside hack, with ideological motives, rather than an internal leak. My reasons are as follows: (1) it appears that there are texts from several separate mobile phones, not just one, making it unlikely that a single leaker would have had access to all of this information; (2) hacking multiple cell phones (including encrypted texts) is not exactly easy to do, suggesting a perpetrator with lots of technical expertise and financial backing; (3) based on the Intercept’s own reporting, they have not just the text messages, but all of the data from the phones—an internal leaker likely would have only shared the relevant text exchanges, not everything on the phones. Now, of course, I could be wrong—this is a guess—but I think the assumption is reasonable.

      To be clear, this is not to impugn _the Intercept’s_ motivations—they clearly have an ideological position, but that’s fine; they may well be motivated more by the desire to expose (what they perceive as) serious wrongdoing. But we can think that the Intercept was acting out of honorable journalistic motives, and ALSO think that the original source of the data was a hacker with more questionable motives. Those are not contradictory positions. It’s also entirely possible to believe both that Sergio Moro acted unethically AND that the person who hacked his phone acted improperly (and in ways that should scare us all, regardless of our political beliefs).

      Finally, I don’t know what Folha or Reinaldo Azevedo have said about this. I’d be curious to read their analysis of the material that’s been disclosed, and I’ll try to track it down.

      • Folha and Reinaldo Azevedo have confirmed the veracity of the obtained information . Glenn Greenwald is a world-renowned journalist, with a Pulitzer, and is also an attorney at law specialised in constitutional matters, and has explained that he is interested in making the information available to the public, because the information is of public interest. As an analog you can think of Hillary’s emails which were also of public interest, and the Brazilian people must know about them in the same way the American people were entitled to know about Hillary’s. He has shared this information with other journalists who are either right wing, or were in favour of Lava Jato, to avoid being accused of being ideologically driven. The far right in Brazil are trying to deviate the focus from the leaked messages to the supposed crimes perpetrated by a hacker so they can accuse Glenn Greenwald along with it, which is clearly a threat to the Freedom of the Press in Brazil, which has already been denounced by the Journalists Sans Frontieres. They have used you and your name to give a further level of credibility of their story.

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