These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.
Kenya: Citizen Watchdogs Go Online
"Holding government officials accountable is the goal of a new project that solicits citizen reports via mobile phone. Through this Web-based public forum the government’s performance will be scrutinized – and, the hope is – improved."
Kenya - "In a new forum here for citizen complaints, one recent report complains about inadequate medical care: “No medicine, no nurse at Nyamira Hospital. I am tired of this.” Launched a month ago in test phase, the Web-based forum allows ordinary Kenyans to comment on the government’s success in performing basic functions. Using a mobile phone or computer, citizens can post comments which are then published on a public website. Called Huduma (which means “service” in Swahili), the platform solicits reports about government services in five areas: health, education, water, governance and infrastructure." READ MORE
"Gawaahi debuted two months ago but is already receiving recognition for its coverage of underreported stories about Pakistanis. The founders started the citizen journalism project because of their belief that space for “alternative voices” in the country is shrinking.
Lahore, Pakistan -- In the aftermath of the assassinations of Governor Salmaan Taseer and Minister for Minority Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti, Gawaahi, a new citizen journalism project here started covering the movement that sprang up to oppose religious extremism. A page on the Web portal follows the activities of the Citizens for Democracy, a loose coalition of citizens that formed to call on public officials to “take a clear stand on the blasphemy issue.” READ MORE
"Cyberattacks, politically motivated censorship, and government control over internet infrastructure are among the diverse and growing threats to internet freedom, according to Freedom on the Net 2011: A Global Assessment of Internet and Digital Media,a new study released today by Freedom House." READ MORE
Open Budgets Blog:
Can we Deep Throat our way to governance accountability?
"The once encouraging ‘governance turn‘ in development thinking emphasized the need for building formal and informal democratic institutions to supplement and consolidate more technocratic reforms such as strengthening treasuries or training auditors. As it turns out, the manufacturing of governance accountability is harder than most people thought." READ MORE
Overseas Development Institute - Africa Power and Politics Programme:
Policy Brief 01: Governance for development in Africa: building on what works
"Millions of dollars have been spent on programmes to make private enterprise work in Africa as it does in the US, elections work as they do in Sweden, audit authorities as in Germany and civil society campaigns as in the Netherlands - with results that have been mixed at best. David Booth argues that currently, 'good governance' and most associated donor programmes are ideological, not evidence-based, and that it is 'the aid business that has to change to meet the needs of development, not the other way round." READ MORE
Poverty Matters Blog:
We need greater transparency over tax payments
"A complaint over tax payments by a Glencore subsidiary could prompt the Zambian government to undertake an audit of all mining companies to assess how much tax they owe." READ MORE
Space for Transparency:
Towards a New Press Law for Tunisia
"The revolution is underway in Tunisia and there is a wonderful feeling that anything can be done in terms of securing freedom of expression and other human rights. The bad guys are out, the good guys are in and democratic change is in the air. Or is it?" READ MORE
The start of a new anti-corruption era in Egypt
"Transparency International (TI), the global anti-corruption organisation, hosted a two-day workshop in Cairo to debate the reforms necessary to make Egyptian institutions more resilient to corruption and more accountable to the public......Among the measures called for to improve accountability and transparency are:" READ MORE
University of Cambridge; Graduate School of Culture Technology, KAIST; Max Planck Institute for Software Systems:
Media landscape in Twitter: A world of new conventions and political diversity
"We present a preliminary but groundbreaking study of the media landscape of Twitter. We use public data on whom follows who to uncover common behaviour in media consumption, the relationship between various classes of media, and the diversity of media content which social links may bring. Our analysis shows that there is a non-negligible amount of indirect media exposure,either through friends who follow particular media sources, or via retweeted messages. We show that the indirect media exposure expands the political diversity of news to which users are exposed to a surprising extent,increasing the range by between 60-98%. These results are valuable because they have not been readily available to traditional media, and they can help predict how we will read news,and how publishers will interact with us in the future." READ MORE
Photo Credit: Flickr user fdecomite