There is a lot of attention paid to Freedom of Information (FOI) Acts.
Before I joined the World Bank about a year and half ago, I worked for DFID, the British Government's development ministry. DFID is part of the British Civil Service. That means I was a civil servant. And I attended a variety of training courses at the Civil Service College.
A couple of weeks ago, I attended a viewing and panel discussion of a documentary film entitled Magic Radio: The FM Revolution in Niger at the World Bank headquarters in Washington, D.C. Mainly about the contribution of private FM radio toward enhancing grassroots democracy, the film also
I sat down the other day with a group of specialists from a Country Team within the World Bank. We were discussing efforts to improve the governance system in that country and how a Program like ours - CommGAP - could help. It was a good meeting and we agreed on a way forward.
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.
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.
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?
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&nb