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A small excerpt from Transparency International’s brand new study, “People and Corruption: Europe and Central Asia Global Corruption Barometer, 2016, 40 pp. (Emphasis our own):

A key way for citizens to help stop corruption is by stepping forward and speaking out when they see or experience corruption in their lives. Disclosures by whistleblowers and citizens are one of the most effective ways to uncover and address corruption and other malpractice.

Despite a substantial minority of citizens in our survey saying that in theory reporting is the most effective thing that people can do to fight corruption, we find that rarely in practice do people actually report their experiences of bribery. Less than one in five who say they paid a bribe in the last 12 months actually reported it to the authorities (19 per cent).

Reporting rates are particularly low in Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Belarus, where fewer than one in 10 of those who had paid a bribe subsequently reported it. We decided to explore the barriers that prevent more people from coming forward to report corruption so that we could help devise strategies to overcome them.

Fear is the main reason people don’t report

Worryingly, the most common reason people don’t report corruption is that they are afraid of the consequences (30 per cent). This demonstrates that fear of retaliation or a negative backlash (such as losing one’s job) is a major barrier to more people from coming forward. This is the main reason cited by people in all three regions.

In France, Switzerland, Portugal and the Netherlands a half or more respondents say that they think this is the main reason more people don’t report corruption (from 50 to 56 per cent).

The second most common reason is that corruption is difficult to prove (14 per cent). Similar proportions of people in all three regions mention this as the main barrier.

A further one in eight think that the main reason people don’t report is that nothing would be done or it wouldn’t make a difference, suggesting a lack of trust in the effectiveness of reporting channels or that public officials have impunity when they commit corruption offences (12 per cent).

All other reasons are cited by fewer than one in 10 respondents: only 3 per cent of respondents say that they think most incidents of corruption are reported.
Read the entire report and see maps and graphs here: https://files.transparency.org/content/download/2039/13168/file/2016_GCB_ECA_EN.pdf
See much more from Transparency International at Transparency.org