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CPI report: Denmark least corrupt country, India ranks at 76

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New Delhi/Mumbai: The rankings of Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 2015 are out. The report upped India from 85th to 76th position. However, this good news is just an unfavourable one in disguise since there were 168 countries in 2015 survey as compared to 174 in 2014.

This means that India’s score for 2015 in CPI remains unchanged. Despite major changes in both the Central and State governments, mainly due to public hue and cry against governmental frauds and bribery, corruption remains unchanged in the public sector.

CPI measures noted levels of worldwide public sector corruption. It is conducted on the basis of an expert opinion from around the world and measures on a scale of 0-100; higher the score point, lower the corruption in that country.

Observing the rankings of Southeast Asian countries, Bhutan ranked at 27 is seen scoring better than India at 65 points. Other neighboring countries, including China at rank 83 and Bangladesh at 139, have shown no signs of improvement. Scores of Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Nepal have increased marginally over the past year.

The CPI report blames shortfall of bold promises by leaders of India and Sri Lanka as one of the main reasons for prevalent corruption there. About governments in Bangladesh and Cambodia, the report claims downfall of civil society by them resulted in the worsening of corruption.

Srirak Plipat, director for Asia Pacific, Transparency International, in an email briefing to reporters said, “India has been flooded with anti-corruption promises especially in the last few years – from the general election in May 2014 to the recent Delhi election in February 2015. The CPI scores, staying firm well below 50 at 38 out of 100 for both 2014 and 2015, show that there has been no improvement. The rhetoric has yet to become action. This year’s CPI sends a message to people of India, as much as to the government. It invites people of India to question their governments and hold them to account for their election promises. If leadership is about delivery in an imperfect environment, this leadership is questionable, to say the least. The Modi government has set a new trend in Asia Pacific: fast and big in anti-corruption promises, while slow and small in delivery.”

The report further declares the failure of China’s prosecutorial approach as the reason behind the absence of a substantial remedy to their situation; while Pakistan’s failure to tackle corruption lies in giving the wind to their ongoing vicious conflicts.

Looking at CPI’s global stature, Denmark, acquiring 91 points, stands as the least corrupt country for the second year in a row now. The position retained is the result of many factors such as high levels of press freedom and integrity among people in power, a full disclosure of nation’s budget information and money flow to the public, revealed a press release by Transparency International. It further told that judiciaries don’t differentiate between rich and poor, and are truly independent of other parts of the government.

Next in line are Finland and Sweden with scores of 90 and 89 points respectively.

North Korea and Somalia are at the bottom with just eight points each. The release adds that Brazil fell 5 points and dropped 7 positions to a rank of 76, becoming the biggest decliner. The big decliners in the past four years include Libya, Australia, Brazil, Spain and Turkey.

Lack of punishment for corruption, public institution’s indifferent behaviour towards citizens’ needs and widespread bribery are the major factors resulting in a poor CPI score.

Other big shifts in the CPI ranking include entry of Netherlands in top five clean countries. Switzerland tumbled to the 7th position from 5th in 2014. Other big improvers include Greece, Senegal and UK.

In the end, the report estimated that around 68 percent of countries face acute corruption problem, globally. Moreover, half of the G20 are among them. (Inputs from Agencies) (picture courtesy: spring96.org)

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Facebook’s Push to Become China’s WeChat May Kill it

As people become increasingly aware of social media’s harm, social media will lose its lustre

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FILE - The Facebook logo is seen on a shop window in Malaga, Spain, June 4, 2018. (VOA)

Facebook which accounts for 75 per cent of global ad spend that is likely to hit $110 billion by 2020 is nowhere near an immediate demise and government regulations would only strengthen the social networking giant in the short term, a new Forrester research has forecast.

However, Facebook’s push to become China’s WeChat — more than a messaging app and is full of capabilities to make life easier for its one billion users — would be its undoing.

Facebook‘s no-good-very-bad 2018 may have meant an overworked PR team but the social media behemoth is doing just fine.

It continues to report steady user and revenue growth: a 9 per cent year over year increase in users in Q4 2018 and a 30 per cent increase in revenue in the same time-frame.

“The three parties that could impact Facebook the most — users, brands and regulators — will move too slowly for it to feel any instant impact,” said Jessica Liu, Senior Analyst, Forrester.

The coming years won’t be easier, but the social media behemoth won’t suddenly collapse either, as many predict.

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FILE – The logo for Facebook appears on screens at the Nasdaq MarketSite, in New York’s Times Square, March 29, 2018. VOA

“But while Facebook’s short-term outlook might be fine, its long-term outlook is bleak,” Liu added

Despite constant negative news last year, Facebook continued to report strong quarter-

over-quarter user and revenue growth. Brands that mishandle their own users’ data and fail to inform them typically falter.

While these users and advertisers could affect change at the social media giant immediately, they won’t, thus allowing it to continue to defy the odds.

“Enacting and enforcing regulation takes so long that Facebook will be able to shore up its assets and unique advantages in the short term and eliminate any vulnerabilities before serious user, advertiser, or regulatory changes materialize,” Liu emphasised.

The social networking giant with over two billion users globally, is facing regulatory challenges as the Cambridge Analytica scandal has exposed its lapses of data privacy and security.

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FILE – A man poses for a photo in front of a computer showing Facebook ad preferences in San Francisco, California, March 26, 2018. VOA

The downfall for Facebook, said Liu, would come with its desire to build an all-inclusive social media experience, as its CEO mark Zuckerberg is planning to merge all apps like Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram into one.

“Facebook’s hope to recreate WeChat, China’s largest messaging app turned all-in-one portal

to the Internet, presents long-term challenges,” Liu added.

WeChat primarily operates in a single country’s political and regulatory environment.

Also Read: South Korean Tech Giant Samsung Launches 2 New Tablets in India

“Facebook will need to tack on products and services to fulfill its one-app vision while global regulators threaten antitrust. It will also grapple with protecting user privacy globally while appeasing advertiser appetite for hypertargeting,” Liu noted.

As people become increasingly aware of social media’s harm, social media will lose its lustre.

“History has taught us that existing apps max out and then decline as users tire of the services or the company (like AOL, MySpace, Friendster). The Facebook app is already experiencing this; Instagram and WhatsApp will follow in a natural peak and then eventually decelerate, too,” Liu commented. (IANS)