These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.
A range of governments are increasingly restricting media freedom using licensing and regulatory frameworks and receive little criticism or attention for doing so, according to Freedom House’s newest report, License to Censor: The Use of Media Regulation to Restrict Press Freedom.
The report provides an overview analyzing this trend at a global level and in-depth analyses of the regulatory environments in eight countries: Ecuador, Georgia, Indonesia, Lebanon, Pakistan, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe. It describes some of the most commonly used methods to regulate the media—legal controls on licensing and registration, regulatory bodies that are not independent or operate in an nontransparent or politicized manner, and the imposition of vague content requirements on media outlets—as well as detailing the use of arbitrary or extralegal actions, including license denials and the suspension or closure of media outlets to restrict media freedom. READ MORE
Reforming local media outlets in the region is key to instilling a culture of accountability to be observed and respected by governments, a media expert said on Saturday.
Jamal Dajani, vice president at Internews Network for the Middle East and North Africa, said local media outlets are more capable of enforcing accountability on local governments than regional outlets.
But Dajani, who is also a blogger, warned that there is a prevalent distrust of local media in the region.
“Why do people refer to regional media outlets rather than receive news from their own media?” he asked.
At a panel discussion on “Trust Through Accountability” at the World Economic Forum’s Special Meeting on Economic Growth and Job Creation in the Arab World yesterday, the panellist said “bringing focus back on local media” will “push interest into accountability locally.” READ MORE
The millions of people involved in the Arab Spring have inspired the world and shown their hatred of corruption and corrupt societies, the head of UNODC, Yury Fedotov, said at the opening meeting of the fourth session of the Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption, which is being held in Marrakech, Morocco, from 24 to 28 October to review the implementation of the Convention and assess worldwide efforts to combat corruption. READ MORE
Though we think of texting as just as a means of day-to-day communication, it has been utilized in developing countries in a variety of ingenious ways to improve the lives of the people there. Surprisingly, cell phones in the developing world are both cheaper and more ubiquitous than many basic services we take for granted, such as brick-and-mortar banks and, in some countries, even electricity.
The infographic shows why some examples of how entrepreneurs and social activists alike have taken advantage of this fact in some incredible ways. READ MORE
EU Transparency Proposals Welcomed
The EU Commission has bowed to sustained pressure from campaign group Publish What You Pay (PWYP) and proposed new EU laws that will require all European Union-listed or large unlisted oil, gas, mining and logging companies to disclose their payments to all governments on a country by country and project by project basis.
“Secrecy in company payments for oil, gas and mineral resources has too often led to corruption, violence and civil war in many countries which are rich in natural resources, while exacerbating poverty by preventing those funds from being invested in basic services like health and education”, said Marinke van Riet, the international director of PWYP. READ MORE