These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.
"The political uprisings that have swept the Arab world over the past year represent the most significant challenge to authoritarian rule since the collapse of Soviet communism, according to Freedom in the World 2012, the latest edition of Freedom House’s annual global survey of political rights and civil liberties. Yet even as the Arab Spring triggered unprecedented progress in some countries, it also provoked a harsh and sometimes murderous reaction, with many leaders scrambling to suppress real or potential threats to their rule. The repercussions of this backlash have been felt across the Middle East, as well as in China, Eurasia, and Africa.
A total of 26 countries registered net declines in 2011, and only 12 showed overall improvement, marking the sixth consecutive year in which countries with declines outnumbered those with improvements. While the Middle East and North Africa experienced the most significant gains—concentrated largely in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya—it also suffered the most declines, with a list of worsening countries that includes Bahrain, Iran, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. Syria and Saudi Arabia, two countries at the forefront of the violent reaction to the Arab Spring, fell from already low positions to the survey’s worst-possible ratings." READ MORE
Wishing you a year filled with integrity
"A New Year greeting sent by a friend reads “a wonderful 2012 filled with integrity”. A sensible wish for the year I felt, in the circumstances we live. Conventionally I could get what he meant. Yet deep inside it unravels a challenge associated with it: defining the parameters of what integrity means. The ultimate meaning of his wish could have fathomed with a relative ease if he wished a year free of corruption: a year free of abuse of entrusted power for personal gain. Or a year filled with good governance: a year where transparency, accountability, responsibility and other related principles are well respected and honoured through practice.
Then what does it mean to be a person of integrity or a nation of integrity? Can a person be non-corrupt yet associated with a dubious integrity? Can principles of good governance prevail in independence of integrity?" READ MORE
CIPE Development Blog
Good News on Corruption
"It’s unusual to hear good news when it comes to corruption, but 2011 was an unusual year. With citizens around the world rising up to protest against tyrants, dictators, fixed elections, and economic inequality, perhaps one of the most overlooked stories has been that average people are now beginning to fight back against corruption as well.
Corruption is endemic in many parts of the world, and for that reason it has often been accepted, if grudgingly, as just “how things are done.” That may be beginning to change. On April 5 of last year, anticorruption activist Anna Hazare began the first of what would become many hunger strikes that rocked India, leading to mass protests against the corruption and graft that pervades daily life in that country." READ MORE
"Why do we moderate websites? If you are Paul Staines who runs the hugely popular Guido Fawkes website then you interfere as little as possible. If you are The Guardian, for example, you have a whole team dedicated to editing comments. As a reader you pays your money (or rather you don’t because it’s online) and you makes your choice. But the decisions made about moderation matter because news websites are increasingly where we go to debate the issues. They influence opinion among journalists, politicians and the public. So is comment free?
Polis has published a new report by Swedish journalist Sanna Trygg, a visiting research fellow supported by the Swedish media foundation, Jornalistfonden, that compares the moderation of news in her homeland with the UK." READ MORE
"Budget transparency has in recent decades come to be seen as a pillar of good governance. This article reviews budget-related transparency and accountability initiatives (TAIs) to analyse their impact. While there are many examples of success in terms of budget processes around the world being opened up to greater participation and scrutiny, there is no single recipe for creating a successful initiative to enhance transparency and accountability in the budget process. A consistent set of factors does however appear across those TAIs defined as successful in various ways. These include building horizontal and vertical alliances between stakeholders, the production of legitimate information, legal empowerment and international support." READ MORE