South Asian Sunshine
Access to information laws, it is said, is inversely proportionate to grubby, graft-taking officials. How does this apply to South Asia?
Before Transparency International quantified the problem with facts and stats, Anna Hazare was asked the same question: what was the root cause of corruption? Mr. Hazare, austere and ascetic, reflected, “The root cause of corruption is selfishness; the selfish nature of human beings. They go to any lengths to pursue their self-interest.”
In a way, Anna Hazare summed up the wantonness of human nature, and Transparency International assessed the damage. Berlin’s TI barged in and took names, and the conclusions are damning. For a place so obsessed with condemning corruption, there’s certainly a lot going around South Asia – hot and happening South Asia – is now as famous for its corruption as it is for its cuisine.
It doesn’t bode well for the world, of course, that its most populous area be its most crooked, but Transparency International makes its case with care.
The key findings are convincing: that ‘citizens find themselves unable to access key information on how their governments are performing in order to hold them to account; that the lack of meaningful protection for whistleblowers means that the chances of detecting wrongdoing by those in positions of power are slim; and that widespread political interference in the critical work of anti-corruption agencies and the judiciary makes them ineffective in keeping a check