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Is Media Freedom at the Heart of Media Development?

Anne-Katrin Arnold's picture

What’s media assistance about anyway? Actually, there’s not really a straightforward answer to this question. I realized that when I listened to Daniel Kaufmann of the Brookings Institute earlier this week at an event hosted by the Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA) and Internews. Kaufmann’s answer was that media assistance is about media freedom. A free media is a necessary, although not a sufficient condition for successful media development.

Weekly Wire: the Global Forum

Kalliope Kokolis's picture

These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.

CIMA
BBC to Launch Citizen Journalism Mobile App

“The BBC is planning a ’news gatherer’ app that will let ’citizen journalists’ file stories directly from their phones, which can be on the air within minutes.

Theoretically, the ”news gatherer app” will be able to feed user-generated content into the BBC’s content-management system, which is then edited by editorial staff and aired within minutes of submission.

The app is scheduled to launch using the HTML5-based web language to minimise reliance on specific handset operating systems, such as Apple iOS or Google’s Android, although a roadmap for the product is unclear.” READ MORE

Weekly Wire: the Global Forum

Kalliope Kokolis's picture

These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.

Nieman Journalism Lab
From Nieman Reports: How social media has challenged old media in the Middle East

“In the wake of the Arab Spring, a vigorous debate is taking shape. While Facebook and Twitter are recognized broadly for playing a pivotal role in broadcasting information from inside the demonstrations in Cairo’s Tahrir Square and elsewhere, views differ on the fit they will — or should — have in territory that has been the traditional reserve of journalists.

Throughout the Arab region, web forums — general and themed — have long served as hosts for civic discussion. These online spaces held the place of social media before global sites like Facebook and Twitter came along. From 2004 to 2007, when I lived in Morocco, Facebook was nascent, still closed off to users outside certain networks, and Twitter, launched in 2006, had not yet emerged. Blogs were still new, so much so that the Moroccan blogosphere, now a force to be reckoned with, consisted of just a handful of largely disconnected writers posting in diary style, dipping briefly into politics or sports. It was Yabiladi, Bladi, and others — Morocco’s forums — that were sources of unreported news, discussion and social commentary.” READ MORE

Weekly Wire: the Global Forum

Kalliope Kokolis's picture

These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.

Technology Times
Take social media seriously or lose power, CTO tells African leaders

“August 23, 2011: CEO of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO), Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, has urged African leaders to take fast-growing social media such as Youtube, Facebook, Twitter and others seriously or potentially risk losing power.

Since the rise of the internet across the globe, the world’s networked population has grown from millions to billions. Social media have become a fact of life for civil society worldwide, involving many actors, regular citizens, activists, nongovernmental organisations, telecoms firms, software providers and governments, among others. Despite the fast growing influence of social media, its usage has not hit its fullest potential on the continent.” READ MORE

Weekly Wire: the Global Forum

Kalliope Kokolis's picture

These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.

The Guardian
How citizens can make development happen

"The future of development lies in the hands of millions of citizens. It's a bold statement by Rakesh Rajani, founder of Twaweza, who was in London for the debate on the future of aid organised by the Overseas Development Institute. Only two years old, Twaweza, which means "we can make it happen" in Swahili, is attempting to do just that across three east African countries, Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda.

Rajani's strategy is to spread information, believing that crucial to the process of development is access to ideas. Twaweza focuses on what it believes are the five main routes for people to hear new ideas in the region: religion; mobile phones; mass media, in particular radio; fast-moving consumer goods; and teachers. Twaweza builds partnerships in all these areas to spread ideas, draw in new voices and open up conversations. It works rather like a venture fund, initiating ideas and getting new organisations off the ground. Rajani cites Amartya Sen's comment that poverty is not about a lack of money, but about a lack of options. His aim is to find new ways to intervene in people's lives to widen their options." 

Weekly Wire: the Global Forum

Kalliope Kokolis's picture

These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.

By The People (America.gov)
Civil Society and Social Media

“The term “civil society” can seem almost as amorphous as the term “social media.”  Yet the two are becoming ever more powerfully linked to the promotion of democracy and human rights in the modern world.

Civil society can encompass any collection of nongovernmental activists, organizations, congregations, writers and/or reporters.  They bring a broad range of opinions to the marketplace of ideas and are considered critical to a vibrant, well-functioning democracy.  Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has described a free civil society as the third critical element to democracy – the other two being a representative government and a well-functioning market.”

From the Global Public Sphere

Kalliope Kokolis's picture

These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that recently caught our attention.

Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA):
By the People: The Rise of Citizen Journalism

"CIMA is pleased to release a new report, By the People: The Rise of Citizen Journalism, by Eugene Meyer, a veteran journalist. Citizen journalism is seen by some as an antidote to the widening gap in societies where traditional news media—print and broadcast—are in decline. Yet in societies that could benefit most from these developing forms of news reporting, repressive regimes are working to suppress freedom of the press, whether in the traditional mainstream media or in the brave new world of citizen journalism. This report examines both the challenges and opportunities facing citizen journalism around the world."

Marguerite Sullivan on Independent Media, Persuading Policymakers, and Jailed Bloggers

Antonio Lambino's picture

CommGAP recently interviewed Marguerite H. Sullivan, Senior Director of the National Endowment for Democracy's Center for International Media Assistance (NED-CIMA).  She talked  about the need for a broader conception of independent media, how to persuade policymakers on Capitol Hill, and the alarming number of jailed bloggers around the world.  Here's a partial transcript:

CommGAP: What is your definition of “media development” or “media assistance”?

SULLIVAN: When we talk about the environment in which an independent media can flourish, it’s like a stool with a number of legs, which include the following: professional journalists; a strong legal enabling environment for journalists; and media literacy on the part of the public. This means that citizens should be enlightened consumers of the media. It also means good governance; that the government has an operative system that is responsive to media inquiries, and has in place efficient and effective mechanisms to get information of public interest out to the people.

The Digital Hammer

Anne-Katrin Arnold's picture

In 2015, 2020 at the latest, the world goes digital. Most of it already is, but not the broadcasting sector. The transition from analogue to digital broadcasting is already under way or completed in some European countries and the US. The rest of the world is in line - and too many people have no idea what this is all about. "For many broadcasters, digital TV is variously mysterious, complex, far away, unpleasant. Regulators may not be up to speed either." This is the conclusion that John Burgess draws in his newly launched report Throwing the Switch: Challenges in the Conversion to Digital Broadcasting that was commissioned by the Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA).

Where Are We Driving this Truck?

Anne-Katrin Arnold's picture

The Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA) is one of our valued partners in the work on communication for governance and accountability. Very relevant to our own work on media development, CIMA just published a report on "Monitoring and Evaluation of Media Assistance Projects." Author Andy Mosher, formerly of the Washington Post, interviewed Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) practioners in major US donor and implementation agencies to find out what is being done - and what is being done successfully - to assess the impact of media development projects. Representative of his question is a quote from one of his interviewees: "Where are we driving this truck?" According to what I read in the report and what I heard at its launch this week in Washington, I'm not sure we even know how to start the truck.

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