Transparency International

Transparency International

Transparency International (TI) is a leading international non-governmental organization addressing corruption. This includes, but is not limited to, political corruption. It is widely known for producing its annual Corruptions Perceptions Index (see below), a comparative listing of corruption worldwide. The international headquarters is located in Berlin, Germany.

Organization and role

TI is organised as a group of some 100 national chapters, with an international secretariat in Berlin, Germany. Originally founded in Germany in 1993 as a not-for-profit organisation, TI is now an international non-governmental organisation, and claims to be moving towards a completely democratic organisational structure. TI says of itself::"Transparency International is the global civil society organisation leading the fight against corruption. It brings people together in a powerful worldwide coalition to end the devastating impact of corruption on men, women and children around the world. TI's mission is to create change towards a world free of corruption."

It rejects any idea of "northern superiority" regarding corruption, and is committed to exposing corruption world-wide.Since 1995, TI has issued an annual Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI); it also publishes an annual Global Corruption Report, a Global Corruption Barometer and a Bribe Payers Index. However the TI USA Chapter has never commented within its publications [ [ TI-USA Newsletters ] ] on any corruption case within the USA, and has taken money from the Boeing Corporation [ [ TI-US Introduction ] ] , whose executive Darleen A. Druyun was imprisoned for corrupt activities, leading to the resignation of Boeing CEO Phil Condit.

TI does not undertake investigations on single cases of corruption or expose individual cases. It develops tools for fighting corruption and works with other civil society organisations, companies and governments to implement them. The goal of TI is to be non-partisan and to build coalitions against corruption.

TI's biggest success has been to put the topic of corruption on the world's agenda. International Institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund now view corruption as one of the main obstacles for development, whereas prior to the 1990s this topic was not broadly discussed. TI furthermore played a vital role in the introduction of the United Nations Convention against Corruption and the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention.

Corruption Perceptions Index

The CPI - besides the World Bank corruption index - is today the most commonly-used measure for corruption in countries worldwide. Based on many different studies, it is known for its accuracy.Fact|date=February 2007 To form this index, TI compiles surveys that ask businessmen and analysts, both in and outside the countries they are analyzing, their perceptions of how corrupt a country is. Relying on the number of actual corruption cases would not work since laws and enforcement of laws differ significantly from country to country.

The CPI is criticised for two main reasons. The first is a danger of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Country analysts might be influenced by past corruption indices and therefore not realise changes.Fact|date=April 2008 Secondly, the use of the index values in time-series statistics is problematic due to the way it is calculated.Fact|date=April 2008

Bribe Payers Index

Competitiveness and corruption

A review of the linkages between countries' competitiveness and the incidence of corruption was initiated at a TI workshop in the International Anti-Corruption Conference in Prague, November 1998.

Accusations of bias & links to Venezuelan opposition

In May 2008, TI attracted controversy by claiming in a report entitled "Promoting Revenue Transparency" that Venezuela's state-owned oil firm PDVSA had failed to disclose basic financial information such as their revenues and how much royalties they paid, and had not produced properly audited accounts. As a result, the report gave PDVSA the lowest possible ranking in assessing the oil companies in 42 different countries, and ranking them according to whether they were of high, medium or low transparency. In fact, the report was incorrect, and all the data from PDVSA was publicly available, leading to claims of a bias by TI against the Venezuelan government.

When questioned about the apparently biased report, TI initially claimed that information was not available at the time of publication – a claim which was also false - and then refused to answer further questions about the matter.

The data in TI's report was gathered by Mercedes de Freitas, the head of their Caracas bureau and a longtime opponent of President Hugo Chávez. De Freitas' previous job was running a US government funded opposition "civil society" group, the Fundacion Momento de la Gente, which is subsidized by National Endowment for Democracy, a US government agency. []

According to a report in the UK's Guardian newspaper, "TI's Venezuela bureau is staffed by opponents of the Venezuelan government. The directors include Robert Bottome, the publisher of Veneconomia, a strident opposition journal, and Aurelio Concheso of the Centre for the Dissemination of Economic Knowledge, a conservative think tank funded by the US government. Concheso was previously a director of the employers' organisation, Fedecamaras. The president of Fedecamaras, Pedro Carmona, led the failed 2002 coup and was briefly installed as Venezuela's dictator." [Calvin Tucker, [ Seeing through Transparency International] , Guardian: Comment is Free, 22 May 2008.]

ExxonMobil, which has taken legal action against PDVSA in the UK, US, and the Netherlands to freeze PVDSA's assets after it rejected PVDSA's offer of compensation for newly nationalised oilfields in the Orinocco River region [Stephen Lendman, [ Bush and ExxonMobil v. Chavez] ,, 19 February 2008.] , has been a funder of TI [ [ Who supports us] , Transparency International website] .

The German Transparency-Blog-Incident

In March 2006, TI Germany attempted to ban an article from a German Blog. [Blog: " [ gedankenträger] "] In this article the blogger expressed her disapproval about a friend’s dismissal who used to work at TI Germany, stating accusations that TI viewed as being false. This led some German bloggers to protest against TI’s alleged method of suppressing the freedom of opinion.

This reaction of the German blogosphere aroused media interest. After the blogger got some help from a German lawyer (who was also a blogger), TI Germany and the blogger came to an agreement. TI Germany never published a conclusive comment on this (a press release making some details on the monthly income of the affected employee was withdrawn very quickly Fact|date=February 2007).

Transparency International in Bosnia accused of racketeering local businessmen (July, 2008)

Banja Luka dailies Nezavisne Novine and Glas Srpski as well as Republika Srpska radio and television, RTRS, reported on Tuesday (1 July,2008) that two unidentified personnel from the Bosnian branch of the Transparency International, as well as one person from the Bosnian Indirect Taxation Agency, have been involved in racketeering of local businessmen. Nonetheless, the International Community's Principal Deputy High Representative in Bosnia, Raffi Gregorian, states that he received a letter on 6 February, describing a detailed plan for discrediting Transparency International in Bosnia. At the time, this information seemed ludicrous. However, the subsequent events have shown that the described plan was in fact being carried out by some political representatives of the Serbians living in Bosnia.Fact|date=September 2008


ee also

*Transparency (humanities)
* Nu Da Şpagă, TI campaign in Romania
* Bolje pakt nego rat, TI campaign in Croatia
* Huguette Labelle, chair of Transparency International since November 2005
* Garret FitzGerald, Board Member of [ Transparency International Ireland]
* Boris Divjak, Global Board of Directors member and founder of the Bosnia and Herzegovina branch
* Frank Costigan, chair [ Transparency International Australia]
* Frank Vogl, Global Board of Directors, co-founder, former Vice Chairman, publisher

External links

* [ Official site] | [ TI's mission statement]
* [ List of TI National Chapters]
* [ TI's Global Corruption Report]
* [ 'Lies' by Transparency International 'protect UK corruption'] Indymedia UK article
* [ International Anti-Corruption Conference]
* [ 13th International Anti-corruption conference 2008]
* [ Article on corruption] in "Forbes" (April 2007)

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