These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.
Different Take on Africa
Good Governance vs. collective action
"It’s time for donors to get out of their addiction to Good Governance! No country has ever implemented the current donor-promoted Good Governance agenda before embarking on social and economic development. This was true for rich countries before they became rich, and it is true for the rapidly ‘catching up’ countries of Asia today. Countries in sub-Saharan Africa are no exception. They are therefore not helped to get out of poverty by donor insistence on prior achievement of Good Governance, meaning adoption of the institutional ‘best practices’ that emerged in much richer countries only at a later stage in their development. This is a main message of the Joint Statement of five research programmes, which has just been published. You may also like to see the PowerPoint presentation of the Joint Statement." READ MORE
"The Middle East and North Africa saw dramatic if precarious gains in press freedom in 2011, and for the first time in eight years, global media freedom did not experience an overall decline, according to a Freedom House report released today. However, due to downgrades in some previously free countries, the percentage of the world’s population living in societies with a fully free press has fallen to its lowest level in over a decade.
The report, Freedom of the Press 2012: Breakthroughs and Pushback in the Middle East, found that three countries—Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia—experienced significant improvements as a result of the Arab Spring. Dramatic gains in press freedom in Tunisia and Libya in particular marked major breakthroughs for countries long governed by autocratic rulers. Outside the Middle East and North Africa region, positive improvements were seen in countries including Burma, Indonesia, Niger, the Philippines, Thailand, and Zambia.
At the same time, independent media continued to face challenges in a number of environments:" READ MORE
Girls in ICT Portal
A Bright Future in ICTs Opportunities for a new generation of women
“The future of the ICT sector is exciting. These are unchartered waters open to creativity, innovation and entirely new ways of working, interacting and learning that should appeal to women and men alike. The Institute for the Future identifies six drivers most likely to shape the future workforce: longer life spans; a rise in smart devices and systems; advances in computational systems such as sensors and processing power; new multimedia technology; the continuing evolution of social media; and a globally connected world. The ICT sector clearly underpins this future. This summary report surveys the global trends in women’s professional development and employment in the information and communication technology (ICT) sector, and offers a sample of the range of national policies, training programs and initiatives targeting girls and women as potential students and professionals. The key points arising from this research are divided into:" READ MORE
“The focus of the Mobile Africa report this time is on the overall innovation ecosystem, which includes a range of stakeholders: industry, entrepreneurs, government, academia, civil society, donors and multilateral organisations. The report also addresses the crucial role of innovator networks and incubators. The material is drawn from interviews with over two dozen digital media experts as well as extensive research from news and market reports. Sustainability of the innovation ecosystem requires the right blend of bottom up entrepreneurial energy and top-down facilitation of investment policies and infrastructure. These roles are played by global+local networks of mobile startups and professionals, such as MobileMonday. They are also augmented by industry-government-academic incubator networks such as the infoDev m:Labs.” READ MORE
CIMA is pleased to release the second edition of its report, Empowering Independent Media: U.S. Efforts to Foster a Free Press and an Open Internet Around the World, edited by David Kaplan, an investigative journalist and media consultant. The report finds that U.S. efforts to bolster independent media and an open Internet overseas are having significant impact but face a lack of funding, growth in online censorship and surveillance, and rising attacks on journalists. Drawing on original research as well as CIMA's past reports, Empowering Independent Media examines seven core areas of media development: funding, digital media, sustainability, media law, safety, education, and monitoring and evaluation. It makes recommendations to strengthen independent media around the world, including: expand funding; increase coordination; build citizen journalist capacity; embed digital media and project evaluation into all programs; and put greater emphasis on business skills, legal issues, community radio, and investigative journalism. READ MORE
“Journalism is in crisis! It's a cry you hear often from journalists in the West, and it's easy to see why. A 2010 study in the UK estimated that between 15,000 to 20,000 journalist had lost their jobs since 2001, and the cuts have continued over the last two years. In the UK, the cuts have not just been at newspapers as the BBC has been forced to cut thousands of staff, many of them in its news departments. Its funding has been frozen and it has had to absorb the costs of funding World Service, which used to be funded directly by the British government. A 2010 study found that between 2007 to 2009, newspaper circulation dropped precipitously in many developed countries, including down by 20 per cent in Greece, 18 per cent in Japan, 17 per cent in Canada and most dramatically by 25 per cent in the UK and a staggering 30 per cent in the US.” READ MORE
“Control over our public image is incredibly important to us -- from the clothes we decide to wear each morning, to the music we blast loud enough for street-goers to hear, to the very words we speak aloud to our friends, bosses and strangers. Often, they're carefully chosen within our rooms, our headphones, and our minds. We need these private labs. But what if we lost these laboratories? What if every contemplation, every experiment, everything you did, was public? That, some argue, is the future of a "friction-less" web -- a kind of stream-of-consciousness for the virtual world.” READ MORE
Passing the corruption car-test
“Although tackling corruption is not an auditor’s function, audit processes can sometimes uncover irregularities better than the bodies tasked to do so. Think of it as a car test. Audits are to institutions what a car test is to you and me. Picture yourself in the unavoidable and annoying queue many have to endure every year for their car to pass its official test. Although this process aims to check the minimum acceptable environmental and road safety standards required by law, it may also uncover a problem in the clutch or the gearbox, or even provide the annoying evidence that the clock of the car was vandalised by its cheeky previous owner to hide excessive mileage. Just like a car test, society also has its way of flagging up its concerns and uncovering corruption in the process: an inflammatory headline unveiling and condemning the latest scandal can result in corruption allegations. Civil society protesting and demanding more transparency can also lead to the implementation of tougher anti-corruption measures.” READ MORE
Photo credit: Flickr user fdecomite