- Elgar original reference
Edited by Padideh Ala’i and Robert G. Vaughn
Chapter 2: The relationship between transparency, whistleblowing, and public trust
If our objective is transparent, accountable and honest governance – government we can trust and a private sector that is trustworthy – then clearly the less information that is kept from us, and the greater the confidence we have in its accuracy, the more likely we are to achieve our aim. Transparency has become a substitute for trust. As stated by the late Jeremy Pope, founding managing director of Transparency International, concepts of transparency have become central to the policy debate over how to build and sustain public trust in modern institutions. With public trust under increasing pressure in most, if not all democratic systems, questions abound about how to maintain the popular faith and confidence upon which stable and effective governance depends. But has transparency really become a substitute for trust? Could it ever perform this function – or is it simply one of the necessary elements in the relationship between citizens and institutions, which influence trust? Is it true that maximum transparency is conducive to maximum trust, or does it have a more nuanced role? In either case, what is the nature of the relationship between transparency and trust? These questions are important due to conflicting interpretations of the nature of the public’s interest in transparency reforms.
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