By Erik Kirschbaum
BERLIN (Reuters) - A majority of people worldwide believes corruption has worsened in the last two years and they see governments as less effective at fighting it since the 2008 financial crisis, a survey by Transparency International organization showed on Tuesday.
The "Global Corruption Barometer" is the biggest ever conducted by the Berlin-based watchdog, with 114,000 people responding in 107 countries in the survey of opinions on corruption and which institutions are considered most corrupt.
The survey found that on a worldwide basis political parties are considered to be the most corrupt institution, scoring 3.8 on a scale of 5 where 1 means "not at all corrupt" and 5 means "extremely corrupt."
Only 23 percent of those surveyed believed their government's efforts to fight corruption were effective, down from 32 percent in 2008.
"Politicians themselves have much to do to regain trust," Transparency International said in a release. "(The Barometer) shows a crisis of trust in politics and real concern about the capacity of those institutions responsible for bringing criminals to justice."
The second most corrupt institution on a global scale is the police with a score of 3.7. Three categories of institutions - public officials/civil servants, parliament/legislature and judiciary - followed with equal scores of 3.6.
"It is the actors that are supposed to be running countries and upholding the rule of law that are seen as the most corrupt, judged to be abusing their positions of power and acting in their own interests rather than for the citizens they are there to represent and serve," Transparency International wrote.
The media did not fare as badly, coming in at the ninth place out of twelve with a score of 3.1, but it was seen as the most corrupt in Australia and Britain. Some 69 percent said it was the most corrupt institution in Britain, up from 39 percent three years ago.
"This very sharp jump is in large part due to the series of scandals around phone hacking, the Leveson Inquiry and the concentration of media ownership," said Robert Barrington, head of the British unit of Transparency International.
The Leveson inquiry into the ethics of the British press was set up in the wake of a scandal over phone-hacking at one of the newspapers of Rupert Murdoch's media empire, which has a strong grip on the media in both Australia and Britain.
The survey showed the business/private sector and the medical and health services scored 3.3 on the corruption barometer, while the education system came in next at eighth place with 3.2.
The military was seen as the 10th most corrupt institution worldwide with a 2.9, followed by NGOs in 11th place at 2.7 and religious bodies as the least corrupt institution with a 2.6 score.
Transparency International noted that even though religious bodies fared best of the 12 major institutions overall, in some countries they are nevertheless as being "highly corrupt". In particular in Israel, Japan, Sudan and South Sudan, religious bodies scored above four on the scale of 1 to 5.
Transparency International is a global organization that campaigns against corruption. It has 90 chapters worldwide and tries to raise awareness of the damaging effects of corruption and works to develop and implement measures to tackle it.
(Additional reporting by Sarah Marsh; Editing by Michael Roddy)