Poles say: Don't give, don't take bribes

Polish campaigners launched an anti-corruption drive Tuesday, touting the slogan "Don't give, don't take bribes," in an effort to combat a problem that has dogged the country since the fall of communism 16 years ago. The non-governmental organization Normalne Panstwo (Normal State) kicked off its campaign Tuesday in Warsaw, unveiling the program's motto and symbol, a fist positioned over an envelope. The symbol is to appear in TV and magazine ads and on billboards, the PAP news agency reported. It will also feature on stickers that will be available at gas stations across the country.

According to Transparency International's 2005 corruption index, Poland is the most corrupt of the 25 countries in the European Union, and ranks 70th internationally, tied with Burkina Faso and Syria. Corruption, which flourished in communist Poland when many goods and services were hard to get on the regular market, has persisted as a problem since its transition to democracy.

"In this country there is social consent toward corruption. In many fields of life, corruption is recognized as the norm," Maciej Slusarek from Normal State was quoted as saying by the PAP news agency. "We want to show that it should not be like this, and that many groups do not consent to this." Poland's socially conservative government, which swept the sleaze-ridden former left wing government from power in September elections, has promised to fight corruption in public life, reports the AP. N.U.

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