The School of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University, supported by CommGAP, recently organized a roundtable on The Contribution of Government Communication Capacity to Achieving Good Governance Outcomes. Participants included representatives from governments, international NGOs, academic institutions, and World Bank colleagues who specialize in public sector governance and development communication. Discussions revolved around the ways in which the topic of government communication might be approached and how good practices might be shared globally.
CommGAP, in collaboration with the World Bank’s Demand for Good Governance Peer Learning Network and the World Bank Institute, organized a roundtable yesterday on “The Role of Media in Strengthening Governance.” Dr. Gerry Power, Director of Research & Knowledge Management at the BBC World Service Trust, presented examples from work done in Bangladesh, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone. World Bank colleagues Verena Fritz, Governance Specialist and a contributor to this blog, and Sahr Kpundeh, Senior Public Sector Specialist, served as discussant and chair, respectively. Participants included representatives from the media sector, civil society, and other international organizations.
Susan's blog on media literacy and the outcome of the Presidential Election in the U.S. reminded me of a discussion I recently had with several communication scholars, among them French sociologist Daniel Dayan. We were talking about the difference between "old" and "new" media, and their respective roles in society. The main point that refers to Susan's post and to development is: old media's function is mainly the dissemination of information. New media's function is entirely different! New media are a new form of audience, or rather, they are an extension of the audience. This extension enables the audience to participate. New media are therefore media of participation, going way beyond dissemination.
In the emerging participatory paradigm in development some of the greatest scholars, thinkers and communication practitioners come from developing countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America. One in particular has greatly influenced the field of communication for development, as it has emerged in recent years: Paulo Freire. It is important to acknowledge his influence in this particular branch of communication because he might not be so well known to communication specialists across the board since he is a renowned educator rather than a specialist in communication.
In 1973 Freire wrote an article titled “Extension or Communication”. In that article he clearly illustrated the difference between extension, which can be mostly identified with almost any kind of monologic approach, and communication. That is why in this blog, while referring to Freire’s original analysis, I use the term monologic instead of extension, which he considers closely associated with concepts such as transmission, cultural invasion and even domination. In comparing and confronting the differences between extension/monologic and dialogic approaches, Freire started from a semantic analysis of the terms, moving then to a more operational analysis of the practical implications of the two.
One could make a strong case that the reason why Barack Obama won the US presidential election is because of “Media Literacy” — not just the “Media Literacy” of his campaign workers, but that of a wide swath of the American electorate.
In certain circles, democratic governance is seen as something of a luxury in the developing world. What people really need are the basics: shelter, food, livelihoods, etc., the argument goes. Yet what frequently goes unsaid is the importance of democratic institutions and practices to such basics. Nowhere is this more apparent than during public health crises.
In the birthplace of democracy will be discussed the strengthening of a bastion of democracy. The 2008 Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD) will be held in Athens, Greece, next week and will draw hundreds of people from around the world who promote, study, and work in the med