23 February, 2018
After ranking 180 countries and territories for the 2017 index, the NGO found that more than two-thirds showed signs of high corruption, with a score of below 50.
Vietnam scored 35 on a scale based on 0 for deep-rooted, systemic corruption and 100 for a very clean environment.
"New Zealand has pulled away from Denmark to hold the top position on our own this year, compared to previous years where we have shared the number one ranking".
A Transparency International release also characterised India as "among the worst regional offenders" in the Asia Pacific region on grounds of journalists, activists, opposition leaders and even staff of law enforcement or watchdog agencies being threatened or even murdered.
TI noted that most countries were not doing enough to curb corruption as the rate of graft seemed to increase.
This means that, on average, every week at least one journalist is killed in a country that is highly corrupt.
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Australia's score this year is 77, which places it at the 16 least corrupt country out of the 190 surveyed.
This year, TI's press statements have emphasized that the fight against corruption correlates closely with media freedom.
Transparency's index relies upon 13 expert data sources, including assessments from the World Bank, the African Development Bank and the World Economic Forum, to determine levels of bribery, diversion of public funds, use of public office for private gain and other issues of corruption.
In the report, Transparency International further observed that Africa has several countries that consistently push back against corruption, and with notable progress.
Governments should minimise regulations on media, including traditional and new media, and ensure that journalists can work without fear of repression or violence.
But the government said it is committed to uphold freedom of the press in the country. Legal frameworks and access to information are essential components of a healthy political system where citizens can play a role in demanding accountability and preventing corruption. Specifically, governments must ensure access to information and the protection of fundamental freedoms and align these to worldwide agreements and best practices.