Corruption Perception

corruptionGhana is ranked one of the leading countries with a free press, an indicator of good governance and development where media freedom is unlimited with a focus on governance, including corruption in government.

A Gallup poll conducted between April and May 2012, on perceptions on government corruption in free press countries around the world, which is expected to be published in the next issue of the Newsweek Magazine, indicates that people in countries worldwide perceived government corruption as a global problem.

According to the poll, majority of some 1,000 respondents interviewed in each country, including Ghana, believed that government corruption was widespread in their countries.

Among countries with free press, the percentage of adults who said corruption was widespread in their government was as high as 94 per cent in the Czech Republic and as low as 14 per cent in Sweden.

Ghana scored 89 per cent alongside Portugal, South Africa, Italy, Costa Rica and South Korea, all of which are recognised as highly free press countries.

The report noted that questions about corruption were so sensitive in some countries, especially those without free press, that even if Gallup was allowed to ask them, the result might reflect residents’ reluctance to criticise their governments.

“This is particularly true in countries where media freedom is restricted, which is why it is appropriate to look at perceptions through lenses such as Freedom House’s press freedom rankings,” the report said.

Among countries with a free press, the “bottom 10” that are least likely to view government corruption as widespread are mostly European. In fact Danes and Swedes are among the least likely worldwide to see corruption as a problem in their governments. Scandinavians traditionally see their governments as being relatively free of corruption.

At the same time, other European countries such as Czech Republic and Lithuania lead the “top 10”, with adults in each country nearly universally seeing government corruption as a problem. Extremely high levels of perceived government corruption are nothing new in Lithuania where anti-corruption agency Transparency International has repeatedly criticised the country’s lack of progress in reining in corruption in the healthcare sector, police and municipal government.

Besides four other European countries, Ghana, South Africa, Costa Rica and South Korea are among the “free press countries” with the highest levels of perceived government corruption.

The report said over the past years, the public in these countries had viewed corruption as being commonplace, yet, in South Korea and Ghana, perceptions of government corruption have reached new heights in 2012 after the revelation of major corruption scandals involving some of the countries’ top officials.

Among countries with a partly free press with perceived high government corruption are Tanzania which scored 95 per cent, Kenya 93 per cent, Greece 92 per cent, Nigeria 92 per cent, Uganda 91 per cent and Kosovo 90 per cent.

On the other extreme, about nine in 10 residents in Chad, Cameroun and Honduras said corruption was commonplace in their governments. These countries are labeled as not free press states.

According to the Gallup data, there has not been any tangible improvement in perceptions in government corruption on a global level over the past several years.

“At first sight, these findings appear disappointing in the light of growing global anti corruption efforts such as the G20 anti-corruption action plan or the US government’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act,” it added.

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