2011 Corruption Index Links Graft and Public Protests

In its new 2011 Corruption Perceptions Index, Transparency International makes a direct link between global corruption and increasing public protests demanding transparent and accountable governance, from European demonstrations over the debt crisis to the Arab Spring.

Compiled annually, the Index ranks perceived public sector corruption in 183 nations, based on indicators such as information access, bribery, kickbacks, embezzlement and government anti-corruption efforts.

"Public outcry at corruption, impunity and economic instability sent shockwaves around the world in 2011. Protests in many countries quickly spread to unite people from all parts of society," wrote Transparency International. "Their backgrounds may be diverse, but their message is the same: more transparency and accountability is needed from our leaders."

The report ranked New Zealand and four Scandinavian countries among the "cleanest" countries, with the lowest public perception of corruption, while North Korea, Somalia, Afghanistan and Myanmar were among the worst. Perhaps more telling, the "vast majority" of countries ranked fell below five on the Index's scale of zero to 10.

Released on 1 December, the report found that many of the Middle East/North Africa countries involved in the Arab Spring ranked poorly. Similarly, European Union countries grappling with economic crises scored low, partly "because of public authorities' failure to tackle the bribery and tax evasion that are key drivers of [the] debt crisis."

"2011 saw the movement for greater transparency take on irresistible momentum, as citizens around the world demand accountability from their governments. High-scoring countries show that over time efforts to improve transparency can, if sustained, be successful and benefit their people," said Transparency International Managing Director, Cobus de Swardt.

Transparency International launched the Index in 1995. RWI has collaborated with Transparency International on two recent reports, Promoting Revenue Transparency: 2011 Report on Oil and Gas Companies and the Revenue Watch Index 2010.

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