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Questioning reporting on the latest Global Corruption Barometer

“Namibians are of the opinion that corruption has been on the rise in the last 12 months,” the Namibian Sun newspaper reported on Monday, 15 July 2019.

The claim is based on the 12 July 2019 release of Transparency International’s latest Global Corruption Barometer (GCB) – Global Corruption Barometer – Africa 2019.

The issue is:

  • Nearly two-year-old findings are being presented as speaking to public perceptions over the last 12-months – from mid-2018 to mid-2019.

Although the latest GCB is dated 2019, and was released in mid-July 2019, the report makes it clear that the information being presented is primarily derived from the 7th round of the Afrobarometer survey, which was conducted between 2016 and 2018.

In this regard, Transparency International states on its website:

“The Global Corruption Barometer for Africa was implemented by Afrobarometer, as part of its Round 7 surveys, in collaboration with Transparency International. A separate survey was commissioned by Transparency International for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which was conducted by Omega Research.”

With regard to Namibia, the Afrobarometer report for Namibia, that was released in 2018, and which informs the Namibian section of the GCB, states:

“In November 2017, the Afrobarometer surveyed a nationally representative, random, stratified probability sample of 1,200 adult Namibians. Face-to-face interviews were conducted in the language of the respondent’s choice by the Afrobarometer team based at Survey Warehouse. Local language translations were done in four languages: Afrikaans, Oshikwanyama, Otjiherero and Rukwangali.”

Our assessment:

  • It is clear that, for Namibia, the data speaks to public perceptions gathered during November 2017, and not “the last 12 months” preceding July 2019, as was reported.

Our concern:

  • A few months short of general elections, issues such as corruption and public perceptions surrounding them tend to be played up or highlighted in public discourse;
  • Journalists and the media should not contribute to exaggeration and misinforming the voters and the general public about the status of such serious national issues.

The Afrobarometer report for Namibia can be accessed at the following link: http://afrobarometer.org/sites/default/files/publications/Summary%20of%20results/nam_r7_sor_en.pdf

The latest GCB can be accessed at the following link: https://www.transparency.org/gcb10/africa?/news/feature/global_corruption_barometer_gcb_africa_2019

15th July 2019

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