Thursday, January 10, 2008

Tax justice radio programme wins award

Radio New Internationalist has just won the 2007 Excellence in Spoken Word Programming award from the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia. Here’s the programme that won it… Taxing Matters. (click here to listen directly online.) The Tax Justice Network took the lead role in this programme. As the programme makers said:

Africans are poor. Everyone knows that. But they needn’t be. On current estimates, for every dollar of aid that flows into Africa, five dollars of financial assets flow out into private bank accounts in the Rich World. Money that’s never taxed. Africa has the fastest growth of millionaires in the world, but the burden for building much needed infrastructure keeps on getting pushed back to those who can least afford to pay.

For African economies – and the many other countries like it in the Poor World that are straining under the burden of debt – tax revenue means self-reliance, economic freedom, and money to improve education and health.

So why are developing countries relying on aid, rather than taxing those who profit most from their countries? In what is emerging as a major social justice issue for this decade, Radio New Internationalist’s Chris Richards is joined by a range of guests who challenge the accountants and politicians of the world to ‘Go figure!’

John Christensen spent 11 years as the economic adviser to that infamous tax habourer, the island of Jersey. As co-host, he shows us how countries’ coffers are being plundered to leave populations in poverty, and reveals how vibrant – and important – tax issues can be.

Investigative journalist and author, Nicholas Shaxson reveals how President Omar Bongo of Gabon maintained a giant offshore slush fund, fed by African oil and hooked up to tax havens.

Greg Muttitt from London NGO PLATFORM lifts the lid on how the International Tax and Investment Center – a registered charity – manipulates governments for six of the world’s biggest oil companies.

With money zipping across borders throughout this program, what more appropriate music could we find to bounce its beats off the spoken words than Rumba without borders (Rumba Sin Fronteras) performed by Cuban percussionist
Pancho Quinto.


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