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Weekly Wire: the Global Forum

Johanna Martinsson's picture

These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.

Africa Can...End Poverty
Two ways of overcoming government failure

"Everyone seems to agree that most, if not all, policy problems have their roots in politics. That is why you often hear that a particular policy will not be implemented because there is no “political will.”  Seemingly anti-poor policies and outcomes—untargeted and costly fertilizer vouchers in Tanzania, 99 percent leakage of public health funds in Chad, 20 percent teacher absenteeism in Uganda, 25 percent unemployment in South Africa—persist.  Yet these are countries where the median voter is poor.  A majority doesn’t vote in favor of policies that will benefit the majority.  Why?" READ MORE

The Struggle for Middle East Democracy
Shadi Hamid

"It always seemed as if Arab countries were ‘on the brink.’ It turns out that they were. And those who assured us that Arab autocracies would last for decades, if not longer, were wrong. In the wake of the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions, academics, analysts and certainly Western policymakers must reassess their understanding of a region entering its democratic moment. What has happened since January disproves longstanding assumptions about how democracies can—and should—emerge in the Arab world. Even the neoconservatives, who seemed passionately attached to the notion of democratic revolution, told us this would be a generational struggle. Arabs were asked to be patient, and to wait. In order to move toward democracy, they would first have to build a secular middle class, reach a certain level of economic growth, and, somehow, foster a democratic culture. It was never quite explained how a democratic culture could emerge under dictatorship." READ MORE

Democarcy Digest
Varying prospects for democratic transition in Tunisia and Egypt

"What are the chances of successful democratic transitions in Tunisia and Egypt? Reflecting on a recent trip to the North African states, Columbia University’s Alfred Stepan compares their cases to the many democratic transitions that he has observed and analyzed across the world." READ MORE

New York Times
Lies and Videotape
Christopher Walker and Robert W. Orttung

"FACEBOOK, Twitter and other social media have revolutionized the global press landscape, helping to dislodge dictators in Tunisia and Egypt and foment protests in Bahrain and Syria. But another revolution is taking shape simultaneously in old media institutions — one that could break the stranglehold that the state news media hold over unfree societies." READ MORE

OpenNet Initiative
Malaysia: Government's Free E-mail Plan Met with Opposition

"Rather than censor the Internet outright, the Malaysian government has adopted a policy of close monitoring and occasional intimidation to keep bloggers and independent media websites in check. Over the past few years, Malaysian authorities have arrested or detained multiple bloggers and journalists for writing critically about political and religious leaders. Yesterday Prime Minister Najib Razak reaffirmed the country's commitment against filtering while media sites Harakahdaily and Malaysiakini struggled to recover from heavy DDoS attacks surrounding the recent Sarawak state elections — attacks some have attributed to the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition." READ MORE

Owen Abroad
Ten steps for meaningful aid transparency

"I’m back from holiday, so here is the promised second of a pair of posts reflecting on three years of working on aid transparency.  In the first post I talked about eight lessons mainly about why different kinds of aid transparency are important.  In this post, I’m going to look at the next steps,  particularly focusing on how we can provide meaningful transparency for citizens in developing countries." READ MORE

The National Democratic Institute
In Guinea, Political Parties Strive to Improve the Next Elections

"As Guinea prepares for legislative elections at the end of this year — only the second competitive polls ever held in the country — political parties are working hard to expand voter registration, select candidates more democratically, and improve outreach to rural party members and constituents. These principles were among the recommendations put forward by more than 40 Guinean political parties following a month of consultations about their experiences from the country’s first campaign last year." READ MORE

The Telegraph
Russian entrepreneurs lead fight against corruption

"When Russian entrepreneur Yana Yakovleva resisted police extortion attempts, she went to jail for seven months on principle. Now free again, she is a champion of business against corruption." READ MORE

Voice of America
Africa's Governments Confront Social Media Protests

"Paris-based Reporters Without Borders has condemned the Uganda Communications Commission for ordering telecom companies to block access to social networking websites.  The order came earlier this month as activists were planning protests against higher prices and corruption. The commission said it took the action to reduce the threat of violence." READ MORE

World Press Freedom Day 2011
Getting Ready for World Press Freedom Day 2011
"The U.S. Department of State is gearing up for World Press Freedom Day 2011(WPFD 2011).  This is the first time that WPFD is being hosted in the United States. More than 100 speakers from 44 countries will join over 800 registered participants from 100 countries in this year’s commemoration." READ MORE

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Photo Credit: Flickr user fdecomite

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