How Taxation Makes Us Do More Good

Living in an oil-rich country has its benefits, but it also has drawbacks. How’s that? Well tax can compel us to do more community work, it makes people more attentive and also makes governments more accountable. The private sector would need to have corporate social responsibility (CSR) plans for the year sorted. Looking at examples of taxation and media can be analyzed by comparing situations and asking ourselves what’s the likelihood for this to happen if the audience are concerned taxpayers.

“Taxes create accountability — citizens want to know how the government is spending their money. Substituting oil revenues decouples government from the people.” — Tina Rosenberg in her article ‘Avoiding the Curse of the Oil-Rich Nations’

First Situation:

What would increase corporations’ likelihood to participate in corporate social responsibility? Living in an Arab Islamic country there are outlets for charity, almsgiving or ‘Zakat’ that mainly focuses on the needy more than any other cause. However when it comes to social responsibility and community involvement, corporations are less compelled to sponsor activities that the general public can benefit from. In contrast to taxpaying nations, there are exemptions that are offered by governments to campaigns that really give back to their communities. This encourages companies to do good and internalize this mindset as part of their identity. This point is drives both public relations and advertising activities, because doing good has a more obvious to the brand and individuals are more perceptive to messages.

Second Situation:

What makes the public generally more aware? How the audience reacts to new government laws, policy changes and expenditure can also gauge their level of apathy or interest. Having the tax dollars paid by citizens does make them hyper-conscious on how the government spends it. This allows them to voice their opinion about a situation. When the audience become more vocal, the media can set the agenda accordingly to highlight public concerns. Taxation correlates with rising interest in governmental and corporate activities media or otherwise.

Third Situation:

How tax can reduce likelihood of tribalism interfering with politics and consequently with media? When running for power a lot can get in the way of competence in high-context societies. A candidate’s ethnicity, religion (or sect), family’s settlement history in the country, and their ties to commercial or political big names, can affect their chances. All this does affect the public’s perception in these societies. With taxation, voters would overlook a lot of it and ask the candidate what are their plans with government budgets made by taxes paid by the public. This compels politicians to be more accountable, their efforts more measurable and their address more transparent. Public opinion has a bigger stake and consequently so does the media.

The drop in oil price and the reduced dependency on it will have ramifications to our industries, governments and media. The current role of the media in an oil-rich country is more of a megaphone for those in power “officials who control oil money” rather than a whistleblower to protect citizens. When looking into matters such as crisis communications, public relations strategy and expectations management, it is very likely that they may need to evolve in the coming years.

Reference:

Rosenberg, Tina (February 13, 2013) Avoiding the Curse of the Oil-Rich Nations [Blog Post] Retrieved from: https://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/13/avoiding-the-curse-of-the-oil-rich-nations/?_r=0

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