By Yasmine S. Hakimian
Impunity Watch Reporter, Middle East
BEIRUT, Lebanon – In a news conference on September 23, the Lebanese Transparency Association (LTA) release the official results of the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) for 2008. The conference was held at the Press Federation in Beirut.
The LTA has announced the results of the Corruption Perceptions Index for Lebanon since 2003. Each year their report includes results from other national chapters of Transparency International around the world. This year the LTA reported on 180 states, 20 of which are Arab countries.
The CPI does not measure corruption in and of itself. It records the perception of corruption estimated by public officials and politicians for each country. Transparency International defines corruption as “the abuse of entrusted power for private gain.” As a result, the index is an indication of what how respondents feel about political and administrative corruption in their countries.
The index primarily focuses on corruption in the public sector, such as an abuse of official power for private interests. The CPI is a culmination of 14 different polls and surveys from 14 independent institutions. The data is handled by businesspeople, academics, analysts, and experts. Each country is assigned a score between 1-10, 1 being most corrupt and 10 being least corrupt. Using their score, the index ranks the countries.
Fadi Saab, the LTA board secretary, has emphasized that looking at the ranks of states each year does not accurately portray corruption. Instead, Saab suggests looking at the scores assigned to a country over the last several years and taking note of the country’s regional and international standing.
Of the 180 states included in the 2008 CPI, Denmark is as the least corrupt. Somalia is ranked the most corrupt. Of the Middle East, Qatar is ranked the least corrupt.
The CPI has reported on Lebanon for six years. This year, Lebanon received the same score it did in 2003 and 2007 at 3.0/10. The 2008 score as an improvement from Lebanon’s score of 2.7/10 in 2004. However, Lebanon scored slightly better in 2005 and 2006 at 3.1/10 and 3.6/10, respectively.
According to Saab, it is most concerning that Lebanon scored lower than the international average (4.0), as well as lower than the Arab Region average (3.49).
Lebanon’s score is a result of the country’s continuing political crisis over the past two years. It is also believed that the absence of legal mechanisms in Lebanon has affected its score.
According to Saab, the CPI results indicate the necessity of serious efforts and urgent actions to help promote political stability in Lebanon. Saab believes a permanent solution needs to take place to re-shape the relationship between citizens and the state. Saab emphasized that cooperation among the different parties will strengthen good government, maintain the well-being of society, and promote the right of access to information.
For more information, please see:
The Daily Star – Lebanese Transparency Association Relays Parts of Corruption Study by Parent Organization – 25 September 2008
TerraNet – Lebanon Ranked 102nd Out of 180 Countries on Annual Corruption Scale – 24 September 2008
Zawya – Lebanon Ranks 102nd Out of 180 Countries on Annual Corruption Scale – 24 September 2008
Lebanon Support – LTA: Press Conference to Release the 2008 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) – 22 September 2008