One of the foundational commitments of CommGAP is the belief that a national democratic public sphere is an essential and self-perpetuating part of the architecture of good governance. At the very heart of a democratic public sphere is a media system that is independent of government control and is both free and plural.
For those of us who grew up in developing countries, political discourse about poverty is an everyday thing. Political campaigns in the Philippines, for example, place poverty upfront and center. Candidates for local posts, such as barangay (village) councilor, all the way up to the highest office in the archipelago invariably campaign on poverty issues. For instance, memorable slogans from relatively recent elections include "para sa mahirap" ("for the poor") and "pagkain sa bawat mesa" ("food on every table"). Not at all surprising in developing country contexts where poverty and inequality are so ubiquitous.
These reflections ran through my head as I attended a brown bag lunch CommGAP organized a couple of weeks ago on a Panos London publication entitled "Making poverty the story: Time to involve the media in poverty reduction", authored by Angela Wood and Jon Barnes. Presented by Barnes at the brown bag, it incorporates research findings from six African and Asian countries. The paper makes the case that mainstream media are essential in boosting public awareness and debate on poverty reduction.
CommGAP held a 3-day training program for senior government official undertaking reform programs on the role communication and participation can play in their reforms.
I was surfing the web, looking for some material on “leadership”, when I came across this music video-clip which I found striking and wanted to share with you. And not because it is my favorite type of music…
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. For, financial markets are also affected by the power of public opinion.
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.
The media landscape is changing faster than many donors can process. New technologies are forcing change upon business models, regulatory structures, and basic patterns of information access and distribution. Yet how much have efforts to assist independent media really changed as a result?
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.
In late January, I attended the 27th General Conference of the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association (CBA). I gave a presentation on the role of the media in combating everyday corruption. This is something I will write about someday soon.
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 diagnose the media's overall he
I was in Atlanta, Georgia, last week at the Carter Center to attend the 'International Conference on the Right to Public Information'.