BBC Media Action's Director of Policy and Learning argues for an urgent rethinking of what is often considered a relic of the past - the state broadcaster - to encourage discussion, dialogue and understanding across communities in fragile states.
Speaking personally, I have advanced at one time or another all these tenets and continue (mostly) to do so. This blog, however, marks the publication of a set of BBC Media Action policy and research outputs I’ve commissioned which collectively advance some unfashionable arguments.
We focus particularly on the role of media in fragile and divided societies and especially on what can be done to support media that transcends, rather than exacerbates, divisions in society. We argue that, for all the innovation, dynamism and potential that exists, there are growing signs that publics are less and less trusting of the media that is available to them. Media environments appear more dynamic, interactive and complex, but much of media – both traditional and social – exists to advance particular agendas or interests in society rather than to serve a public. 21st-century fragmentation of media environments has often been accompanied by an associated fracturing of media often owned, controlled or heavily influenced by particular political, factional, ethnic or religious interests. Such fracturing often applies to both social and traditional media.
It would be hard to find another place on earth where the improvement of transportation is more impactful on the wellbeing of a population than in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Here, transportation is so severely underdeveloped that travel to other provinces is sometimes nearly impossible, if not downright dangerous.
World Bank Chief Economist for the Middle East and North Africa, Shanta Devarajan discusses potential economic scenarios for the region.
Who would have thought, on January 14th 2011, when the Tunisian people took to the streets shouting “Degage!” or “Get out!” to former dictator Ben Ali’s regime, that they put in motion a series of events that would lead to a group civil society organizations winning the Nobel Peace Prize four years later.
In February 2012, I wrote a blog about the relevance to the Arab revolutions that had swept the region of the UN’s then recently unveiled “Resilient People, Resilient Planet: A Future worth Choosing,” which called for the eventual adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Now three and a half years later, at the United Nations General Assembly in New York last week, , world leaders endorsed the SDGs, an ambitious agenda that aims to end poverty, promote prosperity and protect the environment.
Recently, I participated in an ODI-organized conference on ‘Driving change in challenging contexts’. The ongoing refugee crisis in Europe as well as the adoption of the SDGs is bringing efforts to revive and accelerate development in challenging contexts to the forefront of political attention.
Progress in such contexts is inevitably difficult. But actual practices are also still far from the possibility frontier of what could be done. Four issues stand out:
Counter insurgency operations have a development component. The states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh in India have adopted a three pronged strategy to create jobs. These have helped sharply reduce the incidences of Naxalite extremism in their territories. A mix of policies aimed at grass roots employment, infrastructure investment and private sector support have paved the way for a sharp reduction in the fighting.
To those European Union citizens who think that the ongoing “refugee invasion” into the EU is quickly becoming economically unsustainable: If the experience of Syria’s neighbors is anything to go by, you may need to think again.
As we continue to see headlines and editorials almost every day about migrants and refugees, it's not surprising when UNHCR reports that the number of forcibly displaced people has reached 60 million worldwide for the first time since World War II. This figure includes internally displaced people, refugees, and asylum seekers.
While many are on the move as refugees, others migrate willfully at rates that have also reached unprecedented levels. Below, I've explored some trends in regional, country- and economic-level migration and refugee data. But first: What's the difference between a migrant and a refugee?
According to UNHCR, a refugee is any person who has been forced to flee their country of origin because of a fear of persecution. A migrant, on the other hand, is one who leaves their country voluntarily for reasons such as employment, study, or family reunification. A migrant is still protected by their own government while abroad, while a refugee lacks protection from their country of origin.
With the start of the new school year, my children are eager to get back into their classrooms, like all students after a long summer vacation. Perhaps, they feel as they grow and advance to the next level that their dreams are getting closer.