Public opinion is a critical force in politics, including all aspects of governance. To provoke hostile or negative public opinion is to invite a gigantic hammer or a wrecking ball. And I am saying that not because I want to be dramatic but to capture some of the scale of what is happening in the current global financial crisis.
I recently attended an event hosted by the New America Foundation. Shlomo Ben-Ami, former Israeli Foreign Minister and Minister of Public Security , spoke about the shortcomings of the Annapolis Middle East Peace Process, how to address them, and the broader regional picture. In his discussion about the requirements for brokering peace in the region, Ben-Ami stressed the importance of including powerful non-state actors in the process. He underlined that, in order to get the “buy-in” of the general Palestinian population any agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians needed, in addition to President’s Abbas’ democratic legitimacy, to be legitimized by the support of popular leaders among the militia leaders and prisoners. The former Minister pointed out that in the Palestinian society, as well as in the region at large, powerful socio-cultural-political forces had emerged that needed to be included in the negotiation process if it was meant to succeed. He sternly warned that any furthering of the current policy of exclusion would mean an end to the Annapolis process and preclude progress towards a peaceful settlement of the conflict and the two-state solution. His assessment is being shared by Henry Siegmann, Director of the Council on Foreign Relations’ United States/Middle East Project.
Almost any newspaper is filled with stories about conflict from around the world. Even in the deepest province the reader will find a report on atrocities in Darfur or suicide bombs in Iraq.
UNESCO's International Programme for the Development of Communication recently developed a framework for assessing the state of media around the world. This framework is comprised of a set of indicators that are meant to help diagn
I was in Atlanta, Georgia, last week at the Carter Center to attend the 'International Conference on the Right to Public Information'.
In a few weeks the Arab League will meet. The 2002 Arab Peace Initiative will again be placed on its agenda with the hope to push for the quest of a two-state solution.
What follows is a discussion of two of the many challenges that often bedevil efforts to bring out pro-poor social and political change and an approach that is a way of dealing with them. You know the deal: well-meaning technocrats try to introduce a bit of governance reform...by stealth. Then it runs into trouble- usually due to vigorous attacks by vested interests likely to lose out if the reform succeeds - yet the potential beneficiaries are not organized, do not even know that they might benefit from the reform.
Interesting news from China: Xinhua reports the State Council has set up a section on its website to invite public opinion on draft laws and regulations. So far, says Xinhua, the website has collected opinions on seven sets of draft regulations and received 16,888 opinions from more than 9,000 people.
For the past few weeks, the Philippine media have been intensely focused on a controversy regarding a foreign loan meant to fund the creation of the National Broadband Network (NBN), a project envisioned to seamlessly link all government offices across the archipelago via the Internet.
Many years ago, in a class on the English Epic as a literary genre, one of my professors asked: 'What is an anthem?' We all struggled to come up with definitions of an anthem, as in the national anthem of a country. We thought that an anthem was a song set to music commissioned by the leaders of the country and declared to be the national anthem. He said that was not the case.