The main organization that is monitoring corruption world-wide, Transparency International (TI), has issued its Corruption Perception Index 2017, evaluating the level of corruption in the public sector in 180 countries and territories by marks between 0 (worst) and 100 (best).
This year New Zealand (89) was the best, while Denmark (88) immediately followed. War-stricken Somalia, South Sudan and Syria were the worst. Generally, TI assessed that majority of the countries in the world made „little or no progress in ending corruption“, whereby two thirds of them scored at or below 50. The world average score is 43.
In this year`s report, TI especially emphasized the role of independent journalism in fighting corruption. Nine out of ten journalists killed throughout the world use to die in countries with a meager or sub-average CPI score, whereby their investigation of corruption cases is usually the prime motive.
Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF) is also monitoring, evaluating and commenting on corruption, in 30 countries of Europe and Central Asia, in the framework of its project Freedom Barometer Europe. Thereby, lack of corruption is regarded as an element of rule of law, itself among three main ingredients of human freedom as understood from the liberal perspective. In the numerical part of the Freedom Barometer, FNF is using the data obtained by the TI as the most reliable and applicable.
In the Freedom Barometer 2017, Netherlands was at the same time the freest and least corrupt of the 30 monitored countries, with the corruption score 8.30 out of 10 possible points, tightly followed by Germany (8.10). In the TI`s latest report, Netherlands is again highly ranked, sharing places 6-8 in the world, together with Canada and Luxembourg. Germany is again high on the list, being 12th.
According to the TI latest ranking, several countries monitored by FNF have advanced. Estonia has surpassed many „old“ EU members and has been advancing towards the top of the list, in fighting corruption as well as in other aspects of freedom. Georgia is also scoring much better than comparable neighboring countries.
In Balkans, Greece has been improving steadily (since 2012 it has improved by 12/100 points). Romania and Bulgaria seem to be stagnating and advancing slowly, respectively. In the not-yet-EU Western Balkans, Montenegro is little bit better than others (46), while the rest are stagnating below the world average, such as Serbia (41), Kosovo (39, itself not yet monitored by Freedom Barometer), Albania (38), Bosnia and Herzegovina (38), or Macedonia (35). It is notable that Kosovo and Albania are, on the mid-run, advancing while mutually competing, whereby Macedonia is dramatically lower than five years ago (from 43 to 35 points).
As the TI has remarked, after sub-Saharan Africa as the worst, East Europe and Central Asia is the second most affected part of the world regarding corruption. Especially Tajikistan (21) is declining, falling to the place 161/180 and reaching the group of countries in which corruption is almost total. Russia is stagnating at quite a low level, while Moldova also, albeit after a huge fall 2012-2016. Ukraine has somewhat advanced, now being by 5 points better than in 2013, even though still very low overall (sharing places 130-134 worldwide).
The latest TI report and its data confirmed what FNF has steadily insisted upon in its recommendations for anti-graft struggle. Classical anti-corruption institutions (rules of transparency in politics plus independent governmental institutions discovering and/or prosecuting corruption cases) are necessary yet not a condition enough for success in anti-graft struggle. Two other pillars are essential.
One of them is economic freedom. It is clear in the number of cases of monitored countries that economic and legal reforms which deregulate or more smarty regulate leave less room for corruption, thus easing the task to classical anti-graft institutions. Where such reforms were boldly implemented, the country has skyrocketted into the group of less corrupted, leaving comparable (usually neighboring) countries behind.
Secondly, which is corroborated also by the latest TI report, strong civil society, and among it especially independent and professional media, plays a vital role in revealing corruption. Protection of investigation journalists is thereby very important, since their above mentioned role seems to be the prime cause of most of the deadly attacks against them.