MERRILLVILLE | “What advice do you give to other nations where corruption is rampant?” Youssouf Bah, a cameraman for Gangan Television, asked Tuesday afternoon during his first interview of local officials in a documentary on American culture.
Bah and his assistant, Mamadou Qury Bassara Diallo, traveled here this week from Republic of Guinea, formerly known as French Guinea, in Western Africa.
Their first interview was of Cal Bellamy, president of the Shared Ethics Advisory Commission, in the conference room of of the law firm of Krieg DeVault, with a panoramic backdrop of traffic coursing across U.S. 30.
The two men already have visited Washington, D.C., and Baltimore and will return home late this week to edit and broadcast their video for their national television network.
“I’ve been to several Western African nations,” said Bah, who has 16 years in the business. “It’s my first visit to America.”
He said Gangan is a large private television network centered in his nation’s capital of Conakry.
The men are being sponsored by a U.S. State Department partnership with international broadcasters to produce feature reports on American society and values.
They discovered Northwest Indiana through Molly Boyle, who is under contract with the State Department to be their producer on this trip.
Boyle, who owns Front Porch Media Group of Washington, D.C., said she helped with the background research that led her here.
“They wanted to look at anti-corruption work as well as gun control and gun violence,” she said.
“I did a Google search on corruption, and I found Cal’s ethics commission.”
The decade-old Shared Ethics Commission has been providing ethics training to local government employees of Crown Point, Dyer, East Chicago, Gary, Highland, Hobart, Lowell, Munster, Schererville, Whiting and LaPorte County.
Bellamy said the town of Chesterton voted this week to join, too.
He described the commission’s history and work, telling the Guinea journalists, “We are happy to tell our story.”
The team also plans to interview Lake County Prosecutor Bernie Carter, East Chicago Mayor Anthony Copeland, East Chicago Police Chief Mark Becker, Danita Johnson-Hughes, of Edgewater Solutions for Balanced Living in Gary, and U.S. Attorney David Capp.
They also are scheduled to attend an East Chicago Neighborhood Crime Watch meeting late Thursday at Calumet College of St. Joseph.