The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) of Thailand has emphasized the importance of “open data” as a weapon against corruption in the digital age. Mr. Niwatchai Kasemmongkol, the secretary-general of the NACC, delivered a lecture on “Open Data: Anti-Corruption Weaponry in Digital Age” at the PPTV FORUM 2023, on May 25, 2023. The event was held at Movenpick BDMS Wellness Resort Bangkok and took up the theme of Open Government: Game Changer in Fight against Corruption.
Kasemmongkol stated that the promotion of transparency and open government data are at the core of good governance or good public management. Both the United Nations and the World Bank have recognized this promotion as key to successful development efforts in many nations around the world¹. Such principles are also enshrined in Sections 76 and 164 of Thailand’s Constitution.
Section 76 stipulates that the state must promote the development of morality and transparency in accordance with the principles of good public management among all types of state organizations so as to deliver maximum benefits to people via state functions and services that uphold equality, quality, efficiency, and transparency. People are therefore direct beneficiaries. Section 164, meanwhile, states that the government must ensure and arrange for good public management.
Good governance or good public management has six pillars: 1) Rule of Law; 2) Transparency & Data Disclosure; 3) Morality; 4) Public Participation in State Operations; 5) Responsibility; and 6) Cost-efficient & Time-Efficient State Operations. The NACC Board’s and the government’s policies on the promotion of good governance and anti-corruption in the public sector have multidimensional guidelines laid down as follows: 1. The promotion is enshrined in the constitution; 2. The promotion is enshrined in the Anti-Corruption Act and many laws on the administration of state affairs; and 3. The promotion is a part of national strategies, master plans, and action plans of each government agency.
The NACC Board and the government have issued many measures to enhance the integrity of state officials. Nowadays, state officials’ corruption risk is significantly lower than in the past. Even if corrupt practices are undetected in the beginning, investigations can be launched retroactively. One of the anti-corruption measures used by the NACC and the government is the promotion of transparency. There are many tools for this promotion such as information laws and legislations that upgrade digital-government operations.
In conclusion, open data is seen as an important tool in fighting corruption in Thailand. By promoting transparency through open government data, ethical state operations can be ensured, which will ultimately benefit Thai citizens.