“Whitewash” is a term that is often used to describe an attempt to conceal or downplay a serious problem or mistake by presenting a false or misleading version of events. For example, a company might “whitewash” a scandal by releasing a statement that minimizes the severity of the issue, or by releasing only selective information to the public.
A “cover-up” refers to an action taken to conceal or hide evidence of wrong-doing or a mistake. It often implies that the people involved know that what they’re doing is wrong, and they are actively trying to hide it. This can be done in various ways such as through manipulation of evidence, falsification of documents, spreading disinformation, or other types of deceptive tactics. Cover-ups can be both personal or organizational. For example, a government official might attempt to “cover up” a corruption scandal by hiding or destroying incriminating evidence, or an individual might try to “cover up” a crime they committed by providing false alibis.
Poor governance is a term used to describe a situation in which a government or other organization fails to provide adequate services, fails to protect the rights of its citizens, or fails to act in the best interests of its constituents. Poor governance can lead to a variety of negative outcomes, including corruption, economic stagnation, and social unrest.
Both terms generally have negative connotations and can imply bad intentions, unethical or illegal acts, or poor governance.