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A Reformer without Public Support is....?

Sina Odugbemi's picture

BBC News has a story today (December 3, 2008) about the travails of Nuhu Ribadu. Ribadu was until recently the head of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Nigeria. He made a name for himself as a fearless pursuer of the corrupt. Human Rights Watch reports that Ribadu is - despite of the loss of his job - at the receiving end of an 'escalating campaign of harassment' and that attempts have been made on his life.  The full report is worth reading.

As has been reported on this blog by my colleague, Tony Lambino, CommGAP recently organized a workshop for anti-corruption agencies in partnership with the UNODC. One of the reasons we were keen to support these agencies with an array of communication-based techniques and approaches was the observed fact of the often perilously isolated position of these agencies in their own environments. Yet they are meant to take on powerful interests in their societies.

A Major Challenge in Good Governance: The End of Communication as We Know it (Part II)

What if communication did not envision sending messages or persuading people about adopting our ideas or proposals? What if communication were no longer about transmitting information, but about generating information?

I Hate Thee but, Alas, I Need Thee

Sina Odugbemi's picture

Each time I attend a meeting where public officials are gathered and the subject of the mass media comes up, the room lights up. The stories of deep frustration with the media simply flow out of them like melted butter out of a jug. The complaints are legion:

  • Those terrible journalists distort my views.
  • The media are instruments of terror...virtually.
  • They don't get anything serious; they are lazy and uninformed.
  • They are in bed with sinister forces, and corrupt proprietors.
  • They are not to be trusted at all.
  • As the discussion progresses, the authoritarian impulse comes out. You hear calls for strict regulation of the mass media in the particular developing country. Yes, the officials say, the media must be brought to heel, reigned in.

Regional Movements for Media Reform

Silvio Waisbord's picture

Much has been said lately about the prospects for global institutions to promote media democracy and good governance. The jury is still out, however. How can a diversity of trasnational actors, including intergovernment bodies, donors, UN agencies, civic groups and business, be effective? Are all actors equally positioned? If national governments retain power over key decisions shaping media environments, how do global actors manage to influence opportunities for media pluralism and participation?

Latin America offers an interesting petri dish to examine the germination of regional movements promoting media pluralism.

Communication and Anti-Corruption: Day 3 (of 3)

Antonio Lambino's picture

Vienna International Center, Austria -- The third and final day of the CommGAP-United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) communication and anti-corruption learning event featured the following topics: the role of communication in changing social norms and behavior that support corruption; the communicative dimensions of anti-corruption bodies; and a brainstorming session on the ways in which UNODC and CommGAP can support the global anti-corruption community of practice.

Your “Good Leader” Might be Another Person’s “Worst Nightmare”

Henriette von Kaltenborn-Stachau's picture

This summer I was asked to evaluate Timor-Leste’s Leadership and Communication Capacity for National Renewal Program (LCCNR) and provide strategic recommendations for the future of the program. I did so with great interest and developed a high appreciation for the LCCNR.

Using Communication Approaches and Techniques to Support Anti-Corruption Efforts: A Learning Event for Anti-Corruption Agencies

Antonio Lambino's picture

In a post a couple of months back, we announced that CommGAP is co-organizing a learning event on communication’s contribution to anti-corruption efforts with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the international agency responsible for promoting the ratification of the UN Convention against Corruption.

The event will be held next week at the UN headquarters in Vienna, Austria and will bring together government officials working in anti-corruption commissions (ACCs) and experts in communication approaches and techniques that support anti-corruption initiatives.  We look forward to learning about real-world challenges as well as communication efforts that have been effective in anti-corruption work in both developed and developing countries.  We’ll be posting updates from Vienna – at the end of the first and last days of the event.  In the meantime, please find below the latest version of the agenda.

A Malaysian Surprise?

Sina Odugbemi's picture

You are familiar, I believe, with the authoritarian objection to a free, plural and independent media system. Authoritarian leaders always say: at this stage in the development of our country we cannot afford a free press. Too dangerous, you understand, too disruptive. Let's secure national unity first, let's get rid of poverty, let's be as rich as the West, then we can talk about a free press.  Or they deploy the cultural norms argument. This is Asia, they might say, and Asian values do not support imported notions like a free press, free speech and such nonsense. Others will say: this is Africa; we have to do what makes sense in Africa. A free press causes nothing but trouble. We can't afford that now.

Well, you can imagine my reaction when I read the following story in the New York Times of Thursday November 6: 'Malay Blogger Fights a System He Perfected'.

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