Civil society matters

Civil society matters

In a in New York, US President Barack Obama forthrightly called for civil society around the world to be protected and supported so that it can do the important job of holding those in power to account.

Strong civil societies help uphold universal human rights. They promote good governance by making governments more effective and holding leaders like me to account. And they’re critical to economic development, because in our global economy, trade and investment flows to countries that give citizens the freedom to create and develop new ideas and that are protected by rule of law.”

– Barack Obama, President, United States

This comes at a critical time. Civil society is under attack around the world. 

In the past two years staff in our chapters in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and the Middle East have come under attack in the form of murder, imprisonment, death threats, physical beatings, public humiliation and other acts taken to stop those who fight against the abuse of power, secret dealings and bribery.

Transparency International has called on governments in Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Egypt, Hungary, the Maldives, Montenegro, Russia, Rwanda, Sri Lanka and Venezuela to support non-governmental organisations so they can carry out their work free from fear and harassment.

Too many governments are attempting to sideline and persecute civil society organisations by legislating against them, imprisoning their leaders or squeezing their finances. Recently The Economist chronicled across the world.

This reflects a world where autocracy is displacing democracy and where the dissenting voices of the people are being silenced.

It is precisely because citizens and civil society can be so powerful – their ability to harness technology and connect and mobilize at this (is) moment so unprecedented – that more and more governments are doing everything in their power to silence them.”

– Barack Obama, President, United States

Civil society fights back

By exposing corruption and calling for change, our chapters show where governments are failing to protect their people. When people are angry they now take to the street demanding change which is why leaders often want to silence protests before they start.

In Russia, for example, President Putin has pursued a policy of labelling NGOs that receive money from foreign governments as spies. It has introduced laws that stigmatise groups that work on everything from poverty alleviation to anti-corruption forcing some to altogether.

In Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor Orban boasted that he was establishing . And he is.

The government is targeting 58 Hungarian non-governmental organisations, including Transparency International Hungary, because they from the Norwegian government for pursuing a liberal agenda.

The government labels and thus discredits a number of independent NGOs blaming them with bias and serving foreign interests. This crackdown is an unfortunate proof of Hungary’s further ‘Putinisation’.”

– Jozsef Peter Martin, Executive Director, Transparency International Hungary

Transparency International chapters in ten countries recently more than 987 other civil society organisations in 32 countries calling on the Hungarian government to stop its intimidation of civil society.

Unmask the Corrupt campaign banner

UNMASK THE CORRUPT Transparency International has launched a campaign to Unmask the Corrupt and push the Group of 20 leading economies when they meet in November to stop secret company ownership to prevent people from hiding illicit gains in places that allow secret companies. Sign up here for our G20 Thunderclap at to make this happen now.

For any press enquiries please contact [email protected]


Support Transparency International

The alarming message of Egypt’s constitutional amendments

Parliamentarians in Egypt look set to approve a series of constitutional amendments this week that, if passed, would consolidate power in the office of the president, while restoring the military as the ultimate authority in the country.

Восточная Европа и Центральная Азия: слабая система сдержек и противовесов

Индекс восприятия коррупции (ИВК) за этот год представляет печальную картину касательно мер по борьбе с коррупцией в Восточной Европе и Центральной Азии. За несколько лет в этом регионе был достигнут очень незначительный прогресс в борьбе с коррупцией.

الشرق الأوسط وشمال أفريقيا: انتشار الفساد في ظل ضعف المؤسسات وتراجع الحقوق السياسية

كشف مؤشر مدركات الفساد 2018 عن صورة قاتمة لواقع الشرق الأوسط وشمال أفريقيا حيث أن معظم بلدان المنطقة قد أخفقت في مكافحة الفساد على الرغم من أن قلة قليلة من البلدان قد أحرزت تقدما تدريجيا.

Afrique subsaharienne:Les régimes non démocratiques sapent les efforts de lutte contre la corruption

L’Indice de perception de la corruption (IPC) présente cette année un tableau bien sombre de l’Afrique : seuls 8 pays sur 49 obtiennent un score supérieur à 43 sur les 100 points que compte l’Indice. Malgré l’engagement pris par les dirigeants africains de faire de 2018 l’Année africaine de lutte contre la corruption, les avancées concrètes se font encore attendre.

Trouble at the top: why high-scoring countries aren’t corruption-free

For the third year running, the top seven countries in the Corruption Perceptions Index 2018 consist of the four Nordic nations – Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Norway – plus New Zealand, Singapore and Switzerland. Yet that doesn’t mean that these countries are corruption-free.

Americas: el debilitamiento de la democracia y el auge del populismo

Con una puntuación media de 44 sobre 100 durante tres años consecutivos en el Índice de Percepción de la Corrupción (IPC), las Américas continúa sin lograr avances significativos en la lucha contra la corrupción.

Conflict at the bottom

As in previous years, many of the countries near the bottom of the 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index have been severely affected by violent conflict in recent years. Why is this the case, and what does it tell us?

Why rather

Follow us on Why rather