Monday, February 05, 2007

2006 Corruption Perceptions Survey

Last Wednesday I attended a presentation, held by Transparency International and UNDP, of the highly anticipated results of TI's Corruption Peceptions Survey (the last survey was taken in 2002).

Side-note: check out the majority of women heading up international organizations in my photo.

From left to right: Director of Transparency International, Head of UNDP in Armenia, Secretary General of Counsel of Europe in Armenia, Head of OSCE, and Head of International Organizations and Human Rights divison of the Foreign Ministry of Armenia.

Welcome to the feminist theory of International Relations...

The survey revealed some concerning statistics, particularly alarming and revealing to me as we approach parliamentary elections- approximately 90 days away.

Consider the following two statements from the Executive Summary:

"Most of the 2006 respondents were alarmed by a negative impact of corruption on the legitimacy of the Armenian authorities and the moral of the society, which did not come across in 2002..."

"While prioritizing the solutions to improve the current situation, most respondents pointed to a necessity of ensuring free and fair elections"

SO, if everyone realizes that the existing corrupt system is bad, and that free and fair elections is a way to improve the situation, then why does it seem like such an uphill battle to convince people to get out and vote this Spring. To sign up to become election observers. To protest when their rights to dissent are put into jeopardy. RIGHT NOW is the perfect opportunity for citizens of Armenia to do something.

Disconcerting is the following:

"In 2006, the majority of interviewees still believe that the President of the country could play a determining role in reducing corruption in Armenia, whereas more than half of them [58.8%] assume that people themselves cannot do anything...The public opinion regarding the possibility to fight corruption in Armenia has not changed since 2002. Nearly a third of respondents said again that corruption cannot be eliminated."

And perhaps finally, we should reflect on the fact tht 96% of the public says they get their information from television.

And 0% of TV in Armenia is independent since A1+ was shut down by the government five years ago this April.

The up-hill battle continues.

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