Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Press Freedom = Less Corruption?

An interesting post from journalist Howie Severino.

Two words that are can be said to apply to the Philippines today are "press freedom" and "corruption."

The World Bank says, and many people agree, that there is a correlation between the two: greater press freedom equals less corruption. Or as Severino says, sunlight is the best disinfectant.

But, as you will probably surmise, the Philippines is an outlier - we undoubtedly have freedom of the press, and yet corruption continues not only to exist, but actually to worsen.

Severino continues:

I've been looking at trends captured in the annual Corruption Perception Index (CPI) of Transparency International. The following have been the Philippines' rankings among 170-180 countries in the CPI through the years, with 1 the least corrupt.

1996: 44
1997: 40
1998: 55
1999: 54
2000: 69
2001: 65
2002: 77
2003: 92
2004: 102
2005: 117
2006: 121
2007: 131
2008: 141 (out of 180 countries)

1996-98 were the latter years of Fidel Ramos, 1998-2001 was the Estrada era. It slightly improved the year Gloria took over, then went progressively downwards. The Philippines hit three digits in the election year 2004 (not coincidentally, the year of "Hello Garci"), and its ranking has been worsening by leaps and bounds since then.

So, what accounts for us bucking the trend? What do you think?

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