Mohandas Gandhi once declared, in his inimicably insightful and economical manner that “those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is.” The same could be said, in obverse, of politics vis-à-vis religion. We often bemoan the paucity of concrete policy debates in an election or lampoon incumbent presidents for declaring a “mission accomplished” we
Having spent a considerable part of my professional and academic life thinking and writing about the public sphere, it still amazes me how nebulous this concept is, and how difficult it is to be clear about what we mean when we talk about "the public sphere." Academics write multi-volume books
Colleagues have previously argued on this blog that public opinion is a critical force in conflict transformation and peace building. It makes intuitive sense that serious assessment of the viability of peace processes requires taking stock of various societal forces -- not just the political will of elites but also the public will comprised of the preferences of various stakeholder groups.
The number of governance reform processes in which communication plays a role appears to be vast. Which of these are of vital importance? How exactly can communication help? And what does research have to tell us?
A post from Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), somewhere in the heart of the medieval section of this deeply multicultural city. I’m here with a team organized by the World Bank Institute (WBI), working with local partners on preparing a capacity building program for low income municipalities on increasing citizens’ participation in local governance. Colleagues from the WBI facilitated sessions on participatory budgeting and citizens’ feedback mechanisms. Two of us from the World Bank’s Development Communication Division contributed a few modules on participatory communication as a cross-cutting issue in enabling and sustaining citizen participation in local governance.
Greetings from Cambridge, Massachusetts! The first day of the 2 ½ day workshop on the Roles of the News Media in the Governance Reform Agenda is wrapping up. We are thrilled to report that we’ve had a series of rich and engaging discussions among some of the world’s best scholars and most seasoned practitioners. So far, we have had debates, at times heated, but mostly civil, among practitioners, pol
A documentary is currently being aired on American television entitled Caught on Safari: Battle at Krueger. Produced by the
There is a fascinating story in this week's edition of The Economist ('Calling the shots' May 3rd 2008 page 72). It is about the media in India. Apparently, some top Indian newspapers are signing 'private treaties' with businesses. According to the story, the newspapers accept payment for ads in the form of shares in the advertiser's firm. The magazines very legitimate concern is that this increasingly popular practice is exposing Indian newspapers to growing conflict of interest... The magazine also quotes an India media activist , Sevanti Ninan, and he says this practice will "grow and grow in a media which anyway has little notion of conflict of interest." The great danger in a situation like that is that headlines will be bought and paid for without the public knowing who is doing the paying. The integrity of the newspapers in question will be greatly damaged if this is revealed, but the real problem is that the public will not know the truth and public opinion will be manipulated by hidden puppet masters.
I sat down the other day with a group of specialists from a Country Team within the World Bank. We were discussing efforts to improve the governance system in that country and how a Program like ours - CommGAP - could help. It was a good meeting and we agreed on a way forward. But several of the specialists in the room raised a common enough challenge.