In an effort to eradicate corruption in Lebanon , one man dared challenge the citizens to voice out experiences they had with government departments when it comes to bribery - through a website, reported a local newspaper.In December, a 35-year old finance professional launched the website: www.rashwe.com  to encourage Lebanese to stand up against bribery and corruption. “Rashwe.com will give you the opportunity to let it go off your chest, expose bribery in Lebanon , show the numbers to the whole country and to international related bodies for a hope to make a change,” read a statement on the website.Rabih Sfeir decided to create this unique portal as a reaction to his own experience. Apart from him, he saw the same government employee receive a total of LL40, 000 from other eight victims.“In Lebanon, everyone has a bribe story , but we do not have any sort of data or ways to collect evidence,” he said, as quoted by the Daily Star.
Sfeir adds that the website’s purpose is to collect data and analyze issues that will not only show a significant cost as to how such crimes can affect the economy but also help expose “the most corrupt departments.” Claimants have the option to remain anonymous. However, according to the website’s first collected data this month, it still shows that Lebanese still lack the courage to stand up for their rights to make a difference. Sfeir believes there’s a “fear factor” that prevents citizens from voicing out their experiences.It has been recorded that only 47 individuals, out of 1,920 unique visitors and 2,225 visits the website had over the month, made claims through the website. It has been analyzed that more than 20 percent of the claims were related to car registrations, an example of which government employees would not return change once payment has been made.However, according to Sfeir, as quoted by the Daily Star, this “claims are not yet enough to generate national data.”“It is what you claim on this site that will give hope for a change not the website itself,” read Sfeir’s statement on the website.To further enhance audience cooperation, Sfeir plans to reach out through social media and advertisements, in a hope to spread awareness that a portal has been created to help the citizens stand up for their rights against corruption.
Have your say: Do you think the website will help combat corruption in Lebanon? Would it be a good idea to roll out the project to other countries?