Malta corruption perception ranking relatively unchanged over last year

Malta corruption perception rating 'improves' by one point in Transparency International index

One of the billboards erected by Occupy Justice campaigners after the death of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia
One of the billboards erected by Occupy Justice campaigners after the death of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia

Malta ranked 46th in 2017's Corruption Perceptions Index with 56 points, standing above the average score of 43, but retaining its spot amongst the lowest-ranked European countries.

Malta’s highest score was recorded in 2015, when it stood at 60 points. However, while going down to 55 in 2016, it went up by one point in 2017.

The index ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption according to experts and businesspeople. It uses a uses a scale of 0 to 100, where 0 is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean.

This year’s Corruption Perceptions Index, issued by Transparency International, highlighted that the majority of countries made little or no progress in ending corruption.

READ MORE In the year of Panama, Malta tumbles 10 spots in corruption perceptions index

According to the index, New Zealand, Denmark and Finland are the safest countries, scoring the highest with 90. While no country scores 100, meaning that they are completely clean from corruption, more than two thirds of countries scored below 50 on the index, with an average score of 43.

Further analysis even shows that journalists and activists in corrupt countries risk their lives every day. Every week at least one journalist is killed in a country that is highly corrupt. 

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 index. In fact, every week at least one journalist is killed in a country that is highly corrupt. 

Last October, Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was murdered when a car bomb went off while she was driving.

Although many countries ranked below average, several countries significantly improved their index score since 2012, including Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal and the United Kingdom,

Countries which saw declines included Syria, Yemen and Australia. With a score of 50, Italy increased its score by eight points in 2017 compared to 2012, however, the country is still 16 points below the regional average for Western Europe.

Across Europe and Central Asia “non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and independent media experienced challenges in their ability to monitor and criticise decision-makers,” Transparency reported.

Transparency said that that their work in more than 100 countries shows that activists and media are vital to combatting corruption.

The organisations called on the global community to take action to curb corruption and gave their top five recommendations.

  • Governments and businesses must do more to encourage free speech, independent media, political dissent and an open and engaged civil society.
  • Governments should minimise regulations on media, including traditional and new media, and ensure that journalists can work without fear of repression or violence. In addition, international donors should consider press freedom relevant to development aid or access to international organisations.
  • Civil society and governments should promote laws that focus on access to information. This access helps enhance transparency and accountability while reducing opportunities for corruption. It is important, however, for governments to not only invest in an appropriate legal framework for such laws, but also commit to their implementation.
  • Activists and governments should take advantage of the momentum generated by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to advocate and push for reforms at the national and global level. Specifically, governments must ensure access to information and the protection of fundamental freedoms and align these to international agreements and best practices.
  • Governments and businesses should proactively disclose relevant public interest information in open data formats. Proactive disclosure of relevant data, including government budgets, company ownership, public procurement and political party finances allows journalists, civil society and affected communities to identify patterns of corrupt conduct more efficiently.

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