New report on internet and corruption looks at the internet's role in enabling and inhibiting a fair society

Montreal, 15 February 2013


[MONTREAL, 15 February 2013] – A new report released today by the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) and the Humanist Institute for Cooperation with Developing Countries (Hivos) explores the delicate role the internet plays as an enabler to an open and fair society – yet it can also be used to inhibit freedoms, in more oppressive societies. Authors present perspectives on how the internet can be used to help fight corruption and how the need for privacy online can also make it easier to work around the system.

This year’s Global Information Society Watch (GISWatch) on “Internet and corruption: Transparency and accountability online” raises questions such as “Is a surveillance society necessarily a bad thing if it fights corruption?” The “watchers” network of authors also explore the challenges that civil society and activists face in fighting corruption and lessons learned when the internet fails as an enabler of a transparent and fair society.

Reports from around the world

GISWatch 2012 features reports from 48 countries that span the globe and six thematic reports from organisations such as Privacy International, Transparency International, the Open Technology Institute, academic institutions and the Association for Progressive Communications, uncovering emerging issues related to the internet and transparency.

According to GISWatch editor, Alan Finlay, “Perhaps more than before, globally corruption has created a distinct sense of distrust in nations’ leaders. What you see as a response are often quite simple but effective citizen-driven online initiatives – such as the Index of Saudi Promises which tracks project commitments made by government officials. But despite the success of some of these projects, activists have mixed feelings about the effectiveness of using the internet to fight corruption. Media freedoms, and issues such as the right to access to information – nevermind the internet – tend to shape how successful online initiatives can be, especially ones that set out to do things like track government spending or activities. This puts the power back in the hands of those you are trying to make accountable.”

A preview version of the book was launched at the 2012 Internet Governance Forum held in Azerbaijan in November 2012; and the full length version of the book as well as individual reports are now available for free download online.


About Global Information Society Watch
GISWatch is a yearly publication that looks at the progress of the information society and citizen participation in ICT policy processes, access to ICT infrastructure and access to information and knowledge.

In the past, GISWatch editions have covered Internet rights and democratisation (GISWatch 2011), ICTs and environmental sustainability (GISWatch 2010); access to online knowledge and information (GISWatch 2009); access to ICT infrastructure (GISWatch 2008); and citizen participation online in ICT processes (GISWatch 2007).

About the Association for Progressive Communications
The Association for Progressive Communications (APC) is an international network and non-profit organisation founded in 1990 that wants everyone to have access to a free and open internet to improve lives and create a more just world.

Media Contact
Mallory Knodel
APC Communications manager
TEL: +1514 573 6340
Montreal, Quebec

« Go back