These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.
Freedom of the Press 2013
“Ongoing political turmoil produced uneven conditions for press freedom in the Middle East in 2012, with Tunisia and Libya largely retaining their gains from 2011 even as Egypt slid backward into the Not Free category. The region as a whole experienced a net decline for the year, in keeping with a broader global pattern in which the percentage of people worldwide who enjoy a free media environment fell to its lowest point in more than a decade. Among the more disturbing developments in 2012 were dramatic declines for Mali, significant deterioration in Greece, and a further tightening of controls on press freedom in Latin America, punctuated by the decline of two countries, Ecuador and Paraguay, from Partly Free to Not Free status.
These were the most significant findings of Freedom of the Press 2013: A Global Survey of Media Independence, the latest edition of an annual index published by Freedom House since 1980. While there were positive developments in Burma, the Caucasus, parts of West Africa, and elsewhere, the dominant trends were reflected in setbacks in a range of political settings. Reasons for decline included the continued, increasingly sophisticated repression of independent journalism and new media by authoritarian regimes; the ripple effects of the European economic crisis and longer-term challenges to the financial sustainability of print media; and ongoing threats from nonstate actors such as radical Islamists and organized crime groups.” READ MORE
Ushahidi: An Introduction to Anti-Corruption Mapping
“This blog post is the first of a blog series on anti-corruption and transparency mapping by Ushahidi’s Heather Leson. The series will discuss best practices and feature some of the strategies to connect policy and action with online savvy. Ushahidi’s community strategy is aimed to connect topical mappers to build and learn together. Resources and Research will live on the Wiki pages dedicated to Anti-Corruption and Transparency.
Ushahidians have been mapping corruption as either a category or their whole map mission since we launched. Online reporting via crisis maps of various shades and creeds are well known. Mapping anti-corruption and transparency actions is really a long-tail project. These slow burn projects take tremendous amounts of time and outreach to sustain. We’ve recognized a number of these as Deployments of the Week and included featured blog posts.” READ MORE
Social Media in Government: The Dawn of Two-Way Public Discussion
“Governments all over the world are discovering and taking advantage of social media in new and interesting ways. Social media, with its widespread adoption and network effect, is enabling real-time, two way communications between the government and the public. For the first time in history, a one-to-one relationship can be established between people and their local, regional and national governments using innovative social media methods.
Those governments who are the most innovative, have analyzed understood the main considerations a social media strategy should include, and with a solid foundation in place, we see tremendous leaps forward in governmental transparency, communication and effectiveness.” READ MORE
Applying Standards: Media Owners and Journalism Ethics
“CIMA announces the release of its most recent report, Applying Standards: Media Owners and Journalism Ethics, by veteran journalist Eugene L. Meyer. The report examines the inherent conflict of interest many media owners face in placing responsibility for content above their commercial interests and how this affects the practice of journalism in countries where independent news media already face challenges.” READ MORE
New Web Platform Allows Students in Kenya, Uganda to Report Corrupt Professors
“Students in Kenyan and Ugandan universities now have an outlet to anonymously report professors and university personnel for corrupt activities or ineffective and lazy work. The website Notinmycountry.org was started by an international group of anonymous citizens concerned about systematic corruption seen worldwide – they cite the statistic that 7 out of 10 countries suffer from corruption – that causes or exacerbates problems such as environmental degradation, inequality, lawlessness and poverty. Crucial to their site is the anonymity of the users, because fear of identification and repercussions intimidates students into silence. The founders, who remain anonymous presumably for the same reason they protect user anonymity, believe that a grassroots approach focused on holding individuals accountable for misdeeds will be more effective at combating corruption than a systematic overhaul.” READ MORE
Africa’s growth must benefit all its citizens
“Africa’s remarkable growth, driven in large part by a minerals and energy boom, is threatened by illicit capital outflows and widening income gaps, international agency Oxfam has warned ahead of a meeting of top business leaders at the World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town, South Africa.
Several African countries are amongst the fastest growing economies in the world , boosted by new discoveries of oil, natural gas, and strategic mineral reserves. But progress is being undermined by income inequalities and massive illicit capital outflows – often in the form of tax evasion and trade mispricing by extractive industries.” READ MORE