These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.
"Spurred by events in the Arab world and high profile examples like the Indian Ipaidabribe.com, the role of social media to fight corruption and, more broadly, improve governance has been in the spotlight recently (see e.g. the Accountability 2.0 blog). Perhaps the most comprehensive reports we have come across in this area are from the Transparency and Accountability Initiative. Their global mapping report on technology for transparency and the latest piece on the state of the art in transparency, accountability and citizen participation are particularly informative. Ditto for the online tracking tool on technologies for civic engagement.
A recent post from Aleem Walji on the World Bank’s CommGap site, “From egov to wegov” provides a good summary of the key issues at stake:
As Tim O’Reilly famously said, the days of ‘vending machine government’ where citizens pay their taxes and governments solve their problems are gone."
New Mobile Media Toolkit
"Mobile phones are everywhere in today’s world, and they have many applications for those in media. Most journalists already use mobiles phones, but the sheer number of tools and applications available makes it difficult to know the most effective way to use them. The proliferation of mobiles has greatly increased the number and capabilities of citizen reporters, but questions remain about the role of citizen reporting. The public is consuming more and more information on mobile phones, but media organizations need to learn how best to disseminate their content and reach out to the mobile market." READ MORE
Berkman Center for Internet & Society
New: Report on Online Security in the Middle East and North Africa
"The Berkman Center is pleased to release Online Security in the Middle East and North Africa: A Survey of Perceptions, Knowledge, and Practice. This report describes the results of a survey of 98 bloggers in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) carried out in May 2011 in order to study bloggers’ perceptions of online risk and the actions they take to address digital communications security, including both Internet and cell phone use.
Digital communication has become a more perilous activity, particularly for activists, political dissidents, and independent media. The recent surge in digital activism that has helped to shape the Arab spring has been met with stiff resistance by governments in the region intent on reducing the impact of digital organizing and independent media. No longer content with Internet filtering, many governments in the Middle East and around the world are using a variety of technological and offline strategies to go after online media and digital activists." READ MORE
Digital Technologies and the Arab Spring
"In a two-part article, Johnny West, author of a new book based on his personal experience of the Arab Spring, writes about the role of social media in the revolution.
Sometimes hype is justified. Earlier this year, the airwaves and opinion columns of media around the world were full of talk of Facebook revolution in the Arab Spring, how social networking had shaped a new political era in the Middle East, shaking down a geopolitical balance of Arab autocracy that had existed for decades." READ MORE
Study: Is the "Norwegian Model" Portable?
"The "Norwegian Model" of hydrocarbon management delegates responsibility among a ministry, a national oil company, and an independent regulator. Though the model is viewed as a recipe for successful oil sector governance, a new study co-authored by RWI Legal Advisor Patrick Heller, finds that a rigid separation of functions is unlikely to take hold in countries with low levels of institutional capacity that lack an entrenched practice of political competition. Attempts to institute the Norwegian Model in these countries may fail, and, worse, may harm reform movements by crowding out more incremental efforts, diffusing already-scarce financial and human resources, and increasing opportunities for corruption by multiplying the number of government officials able to reach a hand into the till." READ MORE
"The chief technical advisor of the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) for South and Eastern Africa, Dr. Mary Okumu, has urged governments to embrace gender at different levels to enable women effectively participate in the development of their countries.
Dr. Okumu is in the country to attend a three-day conference on Gender Equity Local Development (GELD), where five countries from Eastern and Southern Africa are sharing ideas on women's equitable access to productive resources as well as achievement of the MDGs." READ MORE