As corruption has been increasing in Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi’s India, global anti-corruption organization Transparency International has lowered India’s rank from last year’s position of 79 to 81 this year.
The Corruption Perceptions Index 2017, released Wednesday by Transparency International, reveals that corruption in many countries is still strong. Often, when individuals dare to challenge the status quo, they suffer the consequences.
In some countries across the region, journalists, activists, opposition leaders and even staff of law enforcement or watchdog agencies are threatened, and in the worst cases, even murdered.
Philippines, India and the Maldives are among the worst regional offenders in this respect. These countries score high for corruption and have fewer press freedoms and higher numbers of journalist deaths.
According to the index, India with a score of 40 is more corrupt than countries such as China, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Mauritius.
Further analysis of the index results indicates that countries with the lowest protections for press and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) also tend to have the worst rates of corruption.
Analysis of the index results by Transparency International further examined the relationship between corruption levels, the protection of journalistic freedoms and engagement of civil society. It found that almost all journalists killed since 2012 were killed in corrupt countries.
“No activist or reporter should have to fear for their lives when speaking out against corruption,” said Patricia Moreira, managing director of Transparency International. “Given current crackdowns on both civil society and the media worldwide, we need to do more to protect those who speak up.”
The analysis, which incorporates data from the Committee to Protect Journalists, shows that in the last six years, more than 9 out of 10 journalists were killed in countries that score 45 or less on the Corruption Perceptions Index.
This means, on average, every week at least one journalist is killed in a country that is highly corrupt. In addition, one in five journalists that died were covering a story about corruption. Sadly, justice was never served in the majority of these cases.
“Smear campaigns, harassment, lawsuits and bureaucratic red tape are all tools used by certain governments in an effort to quiet those who drive anti-corruption efforts,” said Moreira. “We’re calling on those governments that hide behind restrictive laws to roll them back immediately and allow for greater civic participation.”
The index, which ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption according to experts and businesspeople, uses a scale of zero to 100, where zero is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean. This year, the index found that more than two-thirds of countries score below 50, with an average score of 43.
This year, New Zealand and Denmark rank highest with scores of 89 and 88 respectively. Syria, South Sudan and Somalia rank lowest with scores of 14, 12 and 9 respectively.
The best performing region is Western Europe with an average score of 66. The worst performing regions are Sub-Saharan Africa (average score 32) and Eastern Europe and Central Asia (average score 34). You can view the full results here.
Photo courtesy: Press Information Bureau