Bratislava, May 30 (TASR) – Four in ten Slovaks claim that they would definitely or probably report corruption to the police if they encountered it, which is the highest proportion since Transparency International Slovakia (TIS) began measuring public engagement in the fight against corruption in 2002, according to a recent survey carried out by FOCUS agency for TIS on a sample of 1,006 respondents between April 4-9.
Fifteen years ago, only 17 percent of people said that they would report corruption, while the figure was 21 percent five years ago.
A small majority of people (51 percent) wouldn’t report corruption even if they experienced it, however.
People with university education aged around 40, as well as businessmen, people with above-average earnings, supporters of centre-right parties and liberal-minded people showed above-average willingness to report bribery. “It isn’t clear from the answers what the reason behind a gradual increase in willingness to report corruption was. It might have been partly thanks to growing trust in police work. While in 2004 the police enjoyed the trust of one third of Slovaks, the figure reached 46 percent according to last year’s Eurobarometer,” said TIS director Gabriel Sipos.
TIS also ascribes growing willingness to report bribery to higher societal pressure to do so, following the example of so-called White Crows such as Zuzana Hlavkova [a whistleblower who drew attention to alleged malpractice at the Foreign and European Affairs Ministry in reference to shady contracts for cultural events connected to Slovakia’s presidency of the EU Council – ed. note]. “Nevertheless, these are below-average values in terms of the EU. The Slovak police are the least trusted in all EU countries (following Bulgaria). We also have the highest proportion of people from all EU countries claiming that they don’t want to report corruption, as it wouldn’t result in punishment anyway.
Awareness of the existence of a law on protecting whistleblowers has increased over the past 12 months. While only 12 percent knew about the law last May, the figure is 44 percent today. Nevertheless, more than half of people still don’t know that they have a legal right to protection or even think that there is no such law in Slovakia.
TIS’s April survey also confirmed that bribery is still widespread in Slovakia. As many as 11 percent of the respondents admitted giving a bribe for public services over the past year. This is the same bribery rate shown in the previous survey carried out in February 2015. Chiefly elderly people with low incomes gave bribes, mainly in the health-care sector.