Syndicate content

Add new comment

Thanks for your comments. What we do know from our surveys is that community radio in Benin carry substantially more education and health programming than other radio. However, we don't know the detailed nature of the content of this programming. We hypothesize in the paper, based on our "reduced form" results, that either the detailed programming content indeed focuses on that which influences private behavior; or, at least, that's the programming that households pay attention to and act upon (even if other content exists). Yet, the question was a testable one to begin with-- the arguments of several proponents of community radio, and donor support to capacity building for community radio, are predicated on the assumption that community radio as an institution enables collective action and therefore would be expected to carry the programming that facilitates such action. To identify which types of programming content would lead to public action for public accountability is, of course, an important question (and one highlighted in the blog). I would argue that to answer it, credibly, and for replicability and scalability, we would need to use rigorous empirical methodology. Examples of such research from Brazil suggest that disclosure of audit information on radio airwaves around municipal elections improves mayoral accountability. Would such programming content have similar effects in the political economy context of Benin or other parts of Africa? What programming content could be designed to be tailored to the opportunities that exist in local political contexts, to "nudge" public action following the momentum of change that may exist in different contexts? I think there is scope for such a research program in collaboration with civil society organizations, and with donor support. It just needs open mindedness to learn through experimental "doing"...