The role of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in preventing and fighting corruption should be promoted, a conference heard on September 25.

Delivering the opening speech of the conference, held by the People's Participation Working Group (PPWG), chairman Le Quang Binh said fighting corruption was one of the Party and State's top priorities as the nation develops.

Due to the increasingly complex nature of corruption, efforts to oppose it need further contributions from independent social organisations and NGOs in particular, he stressed.

However, the role of NGOs is not regulated in the Law on Anti-corruption, said Tran Van Long, head of the Research Department under the Government Inspectorate Research Institute.

Currently the law only names four groups with the social responsibility of fighting corruption, namely the Vietnam Fatherland Front, the media, enterprises and inspection boards at commune and district levels.

It was noted at the meeting that NGOs had contributed directly and indirectly in the country's efforts to prevent and fight corruption through research, policy criticism and supervision of regulation implementation.

Dao Thi Nga, acting director of Towards Transparency, said that with the vision of promoting transparency and accountability in Vietnam , NGOs had conducted a great amount of research.

She mentioned a study of informal costs in the health sector; as well as surveys such as the 2011 research asking Vietnamese youth about their awareness and attitudes toward corruption.

NGOs have their own ways to help the country improve its anti-corruption capacity. However, they should associate with each other, creating a network to increase the social pressure on the State to implement laws and increase its accountability, said Tu Thuy Quynh from the Party Central Committee's Commission for Publicity and Education.

Nguyen Minh Thuyet, vice chairman of the National Assembly's Committee for the Education, Youth and Children, suggested that NGOs should enhance co-operation with mass media to help detect and bring corruption cases to light.