Friday, January 21

Against corruption, access to information

INAI Commissioner

Corruption is one of the main social problems today. Why has corruption become a present problem in all social systems? Why does corruption affect companies, governments, families, and citizens?

In the first place, corruption is directly related to the economy, corruption has a pernicious effect on the economy because it promotes tax evasion, which generates a lower income of resources and therefore less public spending.

Second, corruption directly affects the operation of governments: it generates inefficiency in the public apparatus, poorly applied expenses, diversion of resources, poor quality public works, and so on.

If the economy and the functionality of the government are affected by corruption, then the effects can be devastating for society: it worsens the quality of life, increases poverty, encourages impunity, and increases inequality and social backwardness.

An estimate from the World Economic Forum indicates that corruption has a cost of 2.6 trillion dollars, which is equivalent to 5.0 percent of the World Gross Domestic Product. In Mexico, according to the National Survey of Government Quality and Impact of the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI), 90 percent of Mexicans perceive acts of corruption in their environment. This problem also leads to high levels of impunity and the ineffectiveness of the justice system. According to México Evalúa, 94.8 percent of the cases that are reported in our country go unpunished.

This social problem stems from people’s lack of integrity. Whoever participates in acts of corruption is one who does everything contrary to what is established by society and does not comply with the laws that regulate it. You have no integrity, as you look out for your personal interests first.

Fighting corruption implies the implementation of various mechanisms to confront it, such as the National Transparency System, a set of entities that function as a counterweight to public power. The right to information is a powerful counterweight to prevent, deter and combat it.

Transparency obliges the public official to make better decisions because he will feel supervised by the citizen, with the risk that possible bad decisions or possible acts of corruption, impunity, and bad public management will be evidenced. A public servant who does his job in a glass box will be more efficient than someone who works in the dark.

In addition, access to information turns people into active citizens, who participate as watchdogs of the public apparatus and can make decisions in their lives based on available public information.

Transparency and the right to information are also a hinge that allows the exercise of other rights. An informed society has a better chance to decide about its future and avoid the same historical mistakes.

In recent years, information technologies have become tools to guarantee access to information, make the public transparent, and counterweights of public power.

In Mexico we have the National Transparency Platform (PNT), through which the public apparatus must make its activities transparent and citizens have the possibility to inquire and inquire about what is public.

Today, the Platform registers 4 million 989 thousand 417 requests for information. PNT is the only platform of its kind in the world. It is a technology of transparency that belongs to all Mexicans.

Corruption is a local, national and global problem that requires coordinated actions, citizen participation and a permanent commitment from those of us in the institutions. The fight against corruption requires all of us.