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August 2008

Defining Communication

Paolo Mefalopulos's picture

As a first-time blogger on this site, I will focus on bringing experiences and reflections on how communication plays a key role in initiatives related to governance, a role even more fundamental than that played in other kinds of development programs. Before digging more into this, I would like to illustrate and hopefully clarify one term that, due to its broad and multifaceted connotation, is used too frequently in an ambiguous manner: communication.

Democracy without the People?

Anne-Katrin Arnold's picture

"Unless mass views have some place in the shaping of policy, all the talk about democracy is nonsense" - V.O. Key said that in 1961 in his book Public Opinion and American Democracy. It reminded me of the discussion that Sina, Taeku, and I have had on this blog with regard to John Kingdon's Agendas, Alternatives, and Public Policies. When reading this eminent work, I had been surprised how little influence the media and public opinion were supposed to have on policy making. According to Kingdon, the will of the public had considerably smaller effects on policy than the President, Capitol Hill, and lobbyists in the U.S. of the 1970s, putting policy making somewhat closer to nonsense than it should be.

Leader Writing as Participation in Governance

Sina Odugbemi's picture

In the early 1990s, I was on the Editorial Board of the leading newspaper of record in Lagos, Nigeria until I left for the UK. It was called The Guardian; and  it is still there. I had been in the Nigerian media for a while and to be invited to join the Editorial Board of The Guardian in those days was regarded as an achievement. So I was pretty happy with myself.

'The Price of Silence: The Growing Threat of Soft Censorship in Latin America'

Sina Odugbemi's picture

I was sent this report this week by one of my colleagues in the World Bank. It speaks for itself. And it reinforces the need for serious attention to be paid to the strengthening of the media as an institution of accountability in developing countries.  Here's the press release accompanying the report.

Afghanistan: Harnessing the Power of Healthy Government-Media Engagement

Caroline Jaine's picture

I have just returned from an exhausting but exhilarating week in Kabul, where I had a lively exchange with the Afghan journalists. The freedom that exists for the press in Afghanistan is largely thanks to an enlightened Deputy Minister who some years ago freely issued licenses.  However, whilst the top end of the media market is slick and modern (if not occasion