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Submitted by Sina Odugbemi on
Thanks Shanta for this blog post. It draws attention to a subject that is too often ignored by too many development practitioners: that information and communication processes are vital to many of the ends we seek to achieve in development, including the ability of ordinary citizens to hold their own governments and service providers accountable. I would like to add a few considerations: 1. Even poor villagers today live in a message-rich environment. To get them to pay attention to an issue, learn about it, etc requires serious thought and work. 2.The role of information in changing political behavior in developing countries(e.g moving from apathy to actively demanding accountability) is clearly crucial but too little studied or understood. In my own line of work, what I find is that most of the professors of political communication concentrate on studying the citizens of the United States and Europe. We need to encourage young scholars to tackle this line of research in non-Western societies. 3. Finally, the nature and structure of the domestic public sphere matters. Whether it is rich, plural and inclusive shapes access to information by the poor in quite decisive ways.