Transprency International (TI) is a global movement with more than 100 national chapters worldwide and visualizes a world in which government, business; civil society and the daily lives of people are free of corruption. Since public views on corruption are of critical importance as they offer significant insight into how corruption affects lives around the world, TI believes it is crucial to present the public’s views on corruption – for it is they who suffer its direct and indirect consequences. At the same time, Transprency International encourages the public to play an active role in stopping corruption and imporving governance and engage in the fight against corruption.
Transparency International- Cyprus (TI-C), is a non-governmental, politically independent and non-for-profit organization which aims at combating corruption. Among its main priorities, is to raise awareness of the harmful effects of corruption and encourage people to join the fight against corruption.
In the context of its activity, TI-C collaborated with other TI chapters to conduct the annual global corruption barometer. More specifically, the Global Corruption Barometer is a survey focusing on the public’s perceptions and experiences of corruption in the country in which they live and also examines the frequency of reports of bribery in different sectors and institutions. Transparency International’s Global Corruption Barometer (the Barometer) has been conducted globally since 2003 and now runs its 8th edition. It is the largest cross-country survey to collect the general public’s views on, and experiences of, corruption.
The Global Corruption Barometer Survey in Cyprus was administered from September 2012 until February of 2013 and had a sample size of 570 respondents in all major towns of Cyprus. The survey was conducted via online interviews. All the age groups were represented in the study, population younger than 19 years old (24%), 20-64 years (63%), and 65+ (13%).
The average results across the European Union from the 20 countries surveyed found that 52% of people think that corruption increased in the past two years with 36% thinking that the situation stayed the same and 12% thought that it had decreased. It appears that Cypriots perceive a growing trend with regards to corruption as the GCB 2013 survey found that 71% of respondents believe that corruption has increased over the past 2 years. In addition to that, a 79% of Cypriots believe that corruption is a serious problem in Cyprus.
As a matter of fact, the majority of Cypriots (68%) surveyed perceive that personal contacts within the public sector are very important to get things done, whereas a whopping 90% of the interviewees strongly believe that the Cypriot government is runned by a few big entities which are acting in their own best interests. It is important to note that from the 22 countries surveyed in Western Europe, Cyprus scored the highest regarding the influence of ‘Big Interests’.
When asked regarding the effectiveness of the government in fighting corruption, the vast majority of the Cypriot interviewees (83%) believe that the government’s efforts are ineffective.
In comparison to the other 22 countries surveyed in Western Europe, the perception that the government is ineffective in its efforts to fight corruption was the highest in Cyprus.
With regards to the extent of corruption in institutions, the Cypriot interviewees perceive that the most corrupt categories are political parties (99%), the parliament (95%), the police (94%) and the media (93%).
Out of the 22 countries taking part in the GCB survey from Western Europe, Cyprus ranked 6th with a 19% regarding the amount of paid briberies to service providers. According to the respondents, the majority of bribes in Cyprus were paid to medical and health services (14%) and land services (13%). The most common reason to justify the payment of bribes amongst the respondents was to speed things up (60%) while a 32% stated that it was the only way to obtain a service.
Respondents were then asked about their willingness to get involved in the fight against corruption. 74% of the Cypriot respondents said that they believed that ordinary people can make a difference in the fight against corruption. When asked more directly regarding the different ways that they could fight corruption, 96% stated that they would be willing to sign a petition asking the government to do more to fight corruption, 84% are willing to spread the word about the problem of corruption through social media and 81% are willing to take part in a peacefull protest against corruption.
The majority of respondents (74%) believe that ordinary people can make a difference in the fight against corruption (See Figure 3). With regards to the willingness of reporting an incident of corruption, 86% of the respondents stated that they would. Of those respondents that would be willing to report, 37% said that they would report the incident to a general government hotline, 23% directly to the institution, 17% to an independent non-profit organization and 18% to the media. The respondents that would not report the incident, believed that it would make no difference (48%) and some of them even stated that they would be afraid of the consequences (47%) have they reported the incident. From all the countries surveyed at an EU level, Cypriots were the people which stated most afraid of the consequences.
**TI-Cyprus and Cyprus University of Technology coordinated and managed the fieldwork conducted in Cyprus. Prof Maria Krambia Kapardis coordinated the team of researchers including Nicolas Nicolaides, Christina Neophytidou and other researchers appointed as required.