Countries are too slow in fighting corruption: watchdog


In fact, on average, the region scores just 44.

The report names Brazil as an example - a country which scores only 37 on this year's CPI.

Transparency also compared their data with the World Justice Project, shows that most countries that score low for civil liberties also tend to score high for corruption.

It explained that majority of countries are moving too slowly in their anti-corruption efforts, saying that many countries have made little to no progress in the last six years.

The ranking only refers to corruption in the public sector. Nevertheless, it's an improvement of 2016's score of 35.

However, campaigners discovered a strong correlation between those nations with weak protections for journalists and civic society groups and those high on its Corruption Perception Index (CPI).

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New Zealand remained in first place, but Nordic countries again dominated the top of the table, including Denmark at second place, Finland and Norway tied for third with Switzerland, and Sweden in sixth alongside Singapore.

"What is being done to improve Malaysia's TI CPI ranking and score?" he asked, adding that authorities have often labelled allegations of graft as "fake news". The worst performing regions are Sub-Saharan Africa and Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

"No activist or reporter should have to fear for their lives when speaking out against corruption".

"While we continue to hold the position of least corrupt country, and already have high standards of conduct and integrity, we must not be complacent. Given current crackdowns on both civil society and the media worldwide, we need to do more to protect those who speak up", said Patricia Moreira, TI's Managing Director.

There 20 journalists died in the last six years after being targeted for their investigations into local government corruption and drug-related crimes.