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9 July 2013 Last updated at 01:00 ET
More than one in two people think corruption has worsened over the last two years, according to a public opinion survey by Transparency International. Its annual Global Corruption Barometer found 27% of respondents said they had paid a bribe when accessing public services and institutions in the last year. The survey covered more than 100 countries. Perhaps it’s time to challenge our perceptions of corruption, writes BBC Newshour’s Tim Franks.
The evidence suggests a global pandemic, a disease which infects and corrodes and rots. Most people appear to think it’s getting worse. And yet the reaction is often just a tut – it’s other people’s problem, or a shrug – it’s always been with us and it always will be.
It is corruption.
It is an act, a fact of life, which occurs – by and large – in the shadows. Some, though, are trying doggedly to draw back the curtain – among them, the Berlin-based pressure group, Transparency International. Its latest global survey of corruption covered 107 countries and 114,000 people. And most of them say that corruption has worsened over the last two years.
There are some depressing, if predictable, trends. You are twice as likely to pay a bribe in a poor country as a rich one. In one in three countries, the greasiest palms belong to the police. In almost one in five, the judiciary. Overall, one in four people surveyed say they have paid a bribe.
Nor is it simply about discreetly folding money into an official’s palm. It is political parties, “the driving force of democracies”, as TI calls them, which are perceived to be the most corrupt public institution.
That is, in large part, because corruption is not just about bribery. Almost two out of three people say they believe personal relationships are what help get things done in the public sector – one in two say their government is largely or completely run by special interest groups.
Corruption by Country / Territory : Laos
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