In many developing countries there is little public information or debate about taxation – even at election time. Wealthy and influential people evade tax, and public attitudes to taxation are often overwhelmingly negative.
A growing body of research shows that taxation matters for governance. If governments do not depend on taxpayers for revenue, they have little need to be accountable and responsive to citizens. Likewise, if taxpayers see governments wasting their money or believe that others are unfairly avoiding tax, they will be reluctant to pay.
Research provides a valuable source for journalists to write influential stories that can increase public debate about these critical issues.
This is the eighth in a series of briefing documents for the media from the RELAY programme. RELAY works with Southern print and broadcast journalists to communicate the findings of academic research in an accessible way. The briefings set out the main issues around a topic, prompting journalists to pursue ideas and do further story research themselves. These briefings and other resources can be downloaded for free from www.panos.org.uk/mediahub