These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.
Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA)
Funding Free Expression: Perceptions and Reality in a Changing Landscape
"CIMA is pleased to release a new report, Funding Free Expression: Perceptions and Reality in a Changing Landscape, by Anne Nelson, a veteran journalist, journalism educator, and media consultant. This report, researched in collaboration with the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX), explores shifts in funding patterns for international freedom of expression activity. It is based on a survey of 21 major donors representing a broad range of private foundations and and government and multilateral aid agencies in North America and Europe. Among other key findings, the report explains that despite perceptions of shrinking support for freedom of expression, funding appears to have increased in recent years." READ MORE
Impact Blog - USAID
How Free is Your Media? A USAID-Funded Tool Provides Insight
"On May 3, the world celebrated World Press Freedom Day. Reflecting on the day’s events, a few important questions arise about what role the media plays in a community and in a democracy.
First, how does freedom of the press compare to freedom of speech? Not only do journalists need freedom to speak and write without fear of censorship, retribution, or violence, but also they need professional training and access to information in order to produce high-quality work. Furthermore, journalists need to work within an organization that is effectively managed, which preserves editorial independence. People need multiple news sources that offer reliable and objective news, and societies need legal and social norms that promote access to public information." READ MORE
Professionals join Hazare’s war against corruption, form NGO
"Very soon the following message will be seen in government offices: “We do not encourage corruption. We expect the same from you.” A group of professionals and housewives have decided to place this message on the desks of government officials to stop corrupt activities.
Inspired by Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption movement, a group of professionals and housewives has decided to make June a corruption-free month. They have called it “One voice” as they aim to bring people from different fields and various organisations together and take a stand into making it a least corrupt nation." READ MORE
National Public Radio (NPR)
New Republic: Optimism Spells Democracy's Decline
"As the revolt that started this past winter in Tunisia spread to Egypt, Libya and beyond, dissidents the world over were looking to the Middle East for inspiration. In China, online activists inspired by the Arab Spring called for a "jasmine revolution." In Singapore, one of the quietest countries in the world, opposition members called for an "orchid evolution" in the run-up to this month's national elections. Perhaps as a result, those watching from the West have been positively triumphalist in their predictions. The Middle East uprisings could herald "the greatest advance for human rights and freedom since the end of the cold war," argued British Foreign Secretary William Hague. Indeed, at no point since the end of the cold war — when Francis Fukuyama penned his famous essay The End of History, positing that liberal democracy was the ultimate destination for every country — has there been so much optimism about the march of global freedom." READ MORE
Open Society Justice Initiatve
Freedom of Information Act Signals Consolidation of Nigeria’s Democracy
"The signing by Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan of a freedom of information (FOI) law is a victory for democracy, transparency, justice and development, said the Right to Know initiative, Media Rights Agenda, and the Open Society Foundations today.
"With the new law, Nigerians finally have vital tools to uncover facts, fight corruption and hold officials and institutions accountable," said Ene Enonche, coordinator of the Right to Know initiative." READ MORE
Poverty Matters Blog
Mozambique's free newspaper becomes a tool for social transformation
"When [email protected] hit the streets of the Mozambican capital, Maputo, observers predicted the weekly newspaper would not last three months. Now in its third year, @Verdade (truth, in Portuguese) continues to confound sceptics. Its founder and director, Erik Charas, says with a measure of satisfaction: "One thing I know is we won't be closing anytime soon."
@Verdade, which declares itself to be "non-political", is also published online. But it is an unusual newspaper, and not just for the @ in its name – a symbol aimed at bridging the information gap between those who see it as just another beautiful "a" and the online generation: it is distributed free of charge in Maputo and four other towns to people who could otherwise not afford to buy a newspaper." READ MORE
Research to Action
6 Theories about How Policy Change Happens
"This brief lays out six theories grounded in diverse social science disciplines and worldviews that have relevance to advocacy and policy change efforts. The brief is not meant to be comprehensive; rather it introduces and illustrates theories and approaches that may be useful to advocates, funders, and evaluators.
In particular, these theories can inform the development of advocacy theories of change and logic models. Just as academics develop theories, advocates have their own ideas about what will help them achieve or move toward a policy “win.”" READ MORE
"Abstract: Research into the governance of public goods provision in sub-Saharan Africa confirms that bottom-up pressures from voters and service users are a weak factor at best in improving performance. It suggests placing emphasis on how different types of political regime approach the provision of public goods, and on the enduring importance of working with service providers as well as clients. However, getting ‘uptake’ of these findings into development policy and practice is difficult, and this paper asks why. Obstacles exist at two levels. At an intermediate level, the dissemination of WDR 2004 and related studies through teaching, guidelines, blogs and books has systematically over-sold certain simple messages about information and community monitoring. More fundamentally, incentives, ideologies and vested interests stand between research and the adoption of its findings by the development business. This aspect of the problem of research ‘uptake’ needs to be taken more seriously by all concerned."READ MORE
"Democratic but poorly functioning, Indian political culture badly needs a shake-up and a transformation. Will the widening class gap bring about an Indian Summer?
Last summer in Delhi, when a new overpass was built where the massive Outer Ring Road goes over Aruna Asaf Ali Marg, I would see a small family of four taking shelter under the arches. Now that family has grown. There is a community of about 50 people, including more than a dozen children, and their meager belongings. There are two makeshift tents and clotheslines strung across. There are plastic containers of water and a stove. Several women busy themselves tying flowers into small bundles and pointing the children to vehicles that stop at the intersection. The children look into the cars, show the red roses, and plead with the occupants to buy their wares. The more persistent ones tap softly for attention on the closed windows of air-conditioned SUVs. I often wonder what stops them from breaking the glass and shouting "It's not fair!"" READ MORE