Transparency International has published the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) since 1996, annually ranking countries by their perceived levels of corruption, as determined by expert assessments and opinion surveys. The CPI defines corruption as “the misuse of public power for private benefit.” The CPI currently ranks 176 countries “on a scale from 100 (very clean) to 0 (highly corrupt).” Their first-hand experience working in more than 100 countries around the world shows that activists and media are vital to combatting corruption. As such, Transparency International calls on the global community to take the following actions to curb corruption:
- Governments and businesses must do more to encourage free speech, independent media, political dissent and an open and engaged civil society.
- Governments should minimise regulations on media, including traditional and new media, and ensure that journalists can work without fear of repression or violence. Also, international donors should consider press freedom relevant to development aid or access to international organisations.
- Civil society and governments should promote laws that focus on access to information. This access helps enhance transparency and accountability while reducing opportunities for corruption. It is important, however, for governments to not only invest in an appropriate legal framework for such laws but also commit to their implementation.
- Activists and governments should take advantage of the momentum generated by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to advocate and push for reforms at the national and global level. Specifically, governments must ensure access to information and the protection of fundamental freedoms and align these to international agreements and best practices.
- Governments and businesses should proactively disclose relevant public interest information in open data formats. Proactive disclosure of relevant data, including government budgets, company ownership, public procurement and political party finances allows journalists, civil society and affected communities to identify patterns of corrupt conduct more efficiently. Credit: Transparency International, Wikipedia.
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