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July 2011

Weekly Wire: the Global Forum

Kalliope Kokolis's picture

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

Financial Task Force
World Bank Unveils New Transparency Initiative

“Last week, the World Bank unveiled a major initiative to make their funding more transparent.  Through the new World Bank Finances portal, vast amounts of information about the inner workings of the Bank’s finances are now made easily accessible.  This includes information about specific funds that members are supporting, and the disbursement and repayment status of thousands of projects around the world.  Tools are provided to allow members of the public to comment on specific elements of the data, as well as to download datasets specifically catered to their needs.  The data is remarkably up-to-date, often covering information as recent as June 2011.”  READ MORE

Community Radio Stations as Vehicles for Social Inclusion

Sabina Panth's picture

Isolated geography, customary practices and gender roles often limit rural populations, particularly women and indigenous groups, from accessing relevant information and gaining adequate skills to effectively participate in development interventions.  As a consequence, the wealth of knowledge that these communities possess goes unsolicited and undervalued.  In fact, gender activists argue that rural women rarely serve as the primary source of information in communication for development initiatives and that such practices risk perpetuating elite capture and exacerbating existing inequalities.

Why Media Literacy Matters

Shanthi Kalathil's picture

For those of us who care about the media and its role in society and politics, the recent events surrounding News Corp in the UK have provided plenty of fodder for conversation. While there are many ways to analyze the situation, one aspect which has proved interesting to follow from a CommGAP perspective is the debate over how competing media outlets (or even the ones owned by News Corp) are and should be covering the story. This Washington Post article unpacks some of the ownership ties and potential (or perceived) conflicts of interest behind the coverage, noting that corporate affiliations have raised suspicions about the independence and objectivity of coverage.

Weekly Wire: the Global Forum

Kalliope Kokolis's picture

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

Tech Change
This Live Broadcast Is Brought To You By Bambuser: Streaming Video for Activists

"In the technological game of cat and mouse, where activists and governments seek to control the flow of information through digital devices, activists have a new card to play: Bambuser.

Information is power. And controlling the flow of information is important to the strategies of those who have power, and those who seek to take it away from them. Different tech tools have been taking center stage at different times – each with it’s own features that make it the right tool for the right at the time. And right now, Bambuser is giving the upper hand to those want to stream video in real time. As described by CEO Hans Eriksson, Bambuser is what you get if “YouTube fell in love with Skype and had a love child.” Compatible with 260 mobile phone models, Bambuser allows users to broadcast live from their mobile device. As footage is taken, Bambuser streams it directly to social network platforms, blogs, and the Bambuser site among others." READ MORE

Executive Course in Communication and Governance Reform Kicks Off

Anne-Katrin Arnold's picture

Yesterday CommGAP started on a new endeavor: Yesterday we kicked off our Executive Course in Communication and Governance Reform. Over ten days we're working with our partners to build capacity in communication for governance in Africa and the Middle East. The goal is to enable senior communication experts to support governance reform in their home countries.

Together with our partners from the World Bank Institute, the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California, and the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania we have worked for more than a year to put together a cutting-edge program. In the first three days, we link communication and governance and talk about coalition building and political economy analysis. In seven days dedicated to communication our faculty will discuss strategic communication and how to utilize it for governance reform, media metrics and media research, social media, and organizational change.

Weekly Wire: the Global Forum

Kalliope Kokolis's picture

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

CIVICUS
Building bridges: The future of sustainable cooperation between informal online activists and civil society organisations

"NEW forms of information communication technology (ICT) have begun to counter the paradigms of exclusion by empowering the silent, the invisible, the marginalised, the cynical, the passive and the apathetic to engage and act. ICT has transformed advocacy by endowing transnational networks and communities with a greater capacity to research, report, publicise, organise, campaign and develop policy on pertinent issues.

It is clear that there is a gap between professionalised civil society organisations and the constituencies they purport to represent. Currently most traditional civil society organisations use social media as primarily a promotional add-on to their existing work." READ MORE

Is Online Video-Sharing a Double-edged Sword?

Sabina Panth's picture

As much advantage as there is to the world of the internet, there are disadvantages too, the main inconvenience being securing privacy.  This has become a particular issue of concern when visual images against political reprisal are exposed.  Granted, this very exposure can draw world-wide attention and support for a cause or struggle, but often it leaves advocates involved in demonstrations vulnerable to political targeting and exploitation. 

Developing Independent Media as an Institution of Accountable Governance: A New CommGAP Toolkit

Anne-Katrin Arnold's picture

The link between governance and media systems is now widely acknowledged in the donor community. However, many governance advisors are unfamiliar with why, when, and how to provide support to an independent media sector, and as a result, this crucial piece of the governance reform agenda is sometimes neglected. CommGAP is working toward bridging this gap with our newest publication: Developing Independent Media as an Institution of Accountable Governance: A How-To Guide. (You can read the full text here and order the book here). Author Shanthi Kalathil provides hands-on advice for donors, foundations, and others who are interested in media development, but don't quite know how to go about it.

Help Us Assess Our Work

Anne-Katrin Arnold's picture

As many of you know by now, CommGAP is closing its doors this fall. We believe we have achieved a lot in the past five years, but we want to know what you think about our work - and about the role of communication for governance reform in general. Please help us assessing our performance and get a sense of your perception of the link between communication and governance by participating in our survey! It only takes about ten minutes. Deadline for participating is July 15.

Weekly Wire: the Global Forum

Kalliope Kokolis's picture

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

ICT for Peacebuilding
Mobile Technologies for Conflict Management: Online Dispute Resolution, Governance, Participation

"Mobile Technologies for Conflict Management: Online Dispute Resolution, Governance, Participation edited by Marta Poblet is now available online and soon in print.

Contributing authors are some of the best writers and thinkers on Online Dispute Resolution (ODR), mobile technologies and dispute resolution and  in the world today, including Ethan Katsh, Daniel Rainey, Jeffrey Aresty, Colin Rule, Chittu Nagarajan, Michael Best and Ken Banks. All of them are close friends. Ethan and Colin, it can be said, created the theory and practice ODR and way back in 2004 in Melbourne, encouraged me to pursue what at the time was to many a mad idea – the use of mobiles for conflict transformation." READ MORE

Extreme Strategists

Caroline Jaine's picture

People in my profession have struggled with the idea of strategy - what it means, how to implement a communications strategy, how is strategy different from policy, where is strategy different from planning?

This weekend I met some of the world’s best strategists.  And they weren’t working in government or political organisations.  They work in sport.   You might think that motor-racing had little in common with my field of strategic communications in conflict environments, but this is not any-old motor-racing - it’s Formula 1.

Quote of the Week: Clay Shirky

Sina Odugbemi's picture

"Indeed, the best practical reason to think that social media can help bring political change is that both dissidents and governments think they can.  All over the world, activists believe in the utility of these tools and take steps to use them accordingly.  And the governments they contend with think social media tools are powerful, too, and are willing to harass, arrest, exile, or kill users in response."

-- Clay Shirky. The Political Power of Social Media: Technology, the Public Sphere, and Political ChangeForeign Affairs, January/February 2011.

Is there a Global Policy Network on (Good) Governance?

Sina Odugbemi's picture

I was in Paris in early June to take part in a meeting organized by the OECD Development Affairs Committee (DAC) Governance Network (Govnet). The meeting brought together governance advisers in OECD donor agencies and the media development community to talk about the role of the media in strengthening domestic accountability in developing countries.  Govnet is developing practice guidance on domestic accountability. The meeting was productive but it was quite clear that these were global policy networks that had not previously interacted much, if they had interacted at all. Speaking during the deliberations, I made the point that those of us who had been trying to bring the two communities together for quite some time often felt that our first job was translation: making the discourse of one network intelligible to the other one and vice versa.