A while back, I was lying in a hotel room in Bandung. BBC World business report was on in the background, when on came an Indonesian government representative.
Immediately I sat up. I am like that, being an Indonesia geek.
This Indonesian guy was promoting business in Indonesia.
Niceties over, the interviewer clobbered the Indonesian guy, with something like,
"Indonesia recently scored near bottom of transparency international's corruption index. That won't give international firms confidence in investing in Indonesia, will it?"
The guy floundered.
"We're improving yada yada yada"
"Doesn't look that way to me"
Needless to say it did not sound at all convincing.
Not that I like defending Indonesia's transparency international corruption ranking, but you could go about it as follows.
Transparency International reports on people's perceptions of corruption. Is it any wonder that Indonesians are more keenly aware of wrongs when they are reported on everyday in a mostly free manner. Indonesia has a problem, but at least its people are keenly aware of it, unlike many other places with lobotomised media (Singapore's Straits Times, anyone?).
It's a bit like Alcoholics Anonymous, you gotta be aware your problem before you can overcome it.
Countries with freer media will ironically tend to have worse Transparency International Corruption ranks.