Is Transparency Losing in Fight With Corruption?

24 May 2011

The influence of transparency on fighting corruption was questioned in several papers presented at The First Global Conference on Transparency Research held May 19-20 at Rutgers University-Newark, N.J. (See overall report in FreedomInfo.org.)

The Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI) “has at best been ineffective in the fight against corruption in Nigeria, and the assumed association between transparency and accountability is based on a misdiagnosis of the governance failure complex in Nigeria, an underestimation of the problem of structural formalism and an unfounded expectation of the capacity of civil society groups to demand for accountability in the country,” according to a paper by Uwafiokun Idemudia from York University in Toronto, Canada.

A paper on transparency reforms and procurement at the subnational level in Bangladesh also was downbeat.

A study of 150 countries correlated eight information-communication indicators with perception of corruption measures. University of Arizona journalism professor Jeannine E. Relly said:  “The study found that low news media rights, short duration of the polity, weak political culture and low internet and cellular phone use were significant explanatory indicators for corruption. However, the presence of access-to-information legislation did not impact corruption.”

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