Syndicate content

Add new comment

Countries most affected by conflict, insecurity and underdevelopment often repress and censor their own media. Its a central issue because you cannot have transparency and good governance in countries where responsible journalists and bloggers get chucked in jail at the whim of a minister, embarrassed and angered by a revelation just published. Too often, it seems, the relationship that counts is the one international organisations have with governments rather than with civil society. But over 1000 local journalists were jailed worldwide in 2009 and thousands more were silenced by censorship and violence. While some may be scoundrels who deserve to be behind bars, this cannot be true for the overwhelming majority. So if we really believe building stronger civil society is at the heart of good governance and peace-building, we should take a harder look at the way governments repress their own media. With the crisis in international media, far fewer foreign correspondents being sent abroad to cover conflict and development. So this is a good time to start empowering local journalists and bloggers to report their own stories of conflict and development first hand - turning them into foreign correspondents in effect. That way the reporting that comes directly from authoritative locals, rather than filtered through diplomats and other interested parties, adding depth and texture to complex international issues. Its a very practical solution to a rather important problem and one which unfreemedia.com is pursuing. It can be a game changer for foreign news reporting as a rising group of thoughtful professionals around the world become engaged in quality independent journalism. But it would be good to hear what the authors of the World Development Report 2011 have to say about this issue. One way of thinking about media repression is to think of it as domestic violence. There's a lot more of it about than you ever imagine. Far too many governments which put their best foot forward when they engage with international institutions, are prone to putting the boot in back home.