Distract, Divide, Detach: Using Transparency and Accountability to Justify CSO Regulation

(Transparency and Accountability Initiative / BCSDN) This briefing and discussion paper analyzes how governments refer to transparency and accountability to argue for tighter regulation of CSOs. Invoking transparency and accountability, governments around the world typically propose regulation in three areas: transparency of funding, and especially of foreign funding; income and asset declaration of CSO leaders; and democratic accountability and governance. While calling for transparency, governments impose regulations with, in many cases, wide-ranging restrictions. Moreover, governments often use transparency and accountability to frame CSOs as foreign and unrepresentative, and their leadership as a privileged elite. It appears that governments welcome a protracted debate to distract CSOs from their advocacy, divide CSOs, and detach them from potential public support. Yet there are also real gaps in CSO transparency that could easily be addressed, allowing CSOs to proactively position themselves for debate.

Read the report here.

Published on Balkan Civil Society Development Network