Examining the Relationship Between Media Freedom and Corruption Using Elite and Public Opinion Measures


Lee B. Becker, Teresa K. Naab, Cynthia English and Tudor Vlad


Advocates for media freedom have consistently argued that corruption goes down when journalists operating in a free media environment are able to expose the excesses of governmental leaders. An evolving body of research finds evidence to support this assertion. That research, however, has ignored issues of measurement, both of media freedom and of corruption. Measurement in both cases is complex. This paper focuses on perceptual measures of corruption based on public opinion surveys. It attempts to replicate the finding of a negative relationship between media freedom and corruption using multiple measures of media freedom. It also employs a second measure of corruption commonly used in the research literature.

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