The Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA) is one of our valued partners in the work on communication for governance and accountability. Very relevant to our own work on media development, CIMA just published a report on "Monitoring and Evaluation of Media Assistance Projects." Author Andy Mosher, formerly of the Washington Post, interviewed Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) practioners in major US donor and implementation agencies to find out what is being done - and what is being done successfully - to assess the impact of media development projects. Representative of his question is a quote from one of his interviewees: "Where are we driving this truck?" According to what I read in the report and what I heard at its launch this week in Washington, I'm not sure we even know how to start the truck.
A reader's comment to the blog post The Culture of Media Development on Both Sides of the Atlantic:
It has been very interesting to read the various Blogs regarding the development of media in conflict and post-conflict situations. Here at the Centre for Communication and Social Change at The University of Queensland, Australia we have been actively involved in a range of initiatives which seek to support the use of media and communication processes in development.
Our work on a media development toolkit for governance advisors in donor agencies has reached another stage - last week we took our consultations to London to talk to a wide range of media development experts from Europe. This completes the major part of expert discussions that we conducted to develop a toolkit on how to increase the effectiveness of media development projects.
Again, Uruguay shows that when civil society intelligently promotes coalition-building and finds sympathetic allies in government, media reform is possible. On June 10, the Congress passed a bill to reform the Penal Code and the Press Law. The new law will abolish libel laws and subject national legislation on communication issues to criteria enforced by the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights. The bill is likely to be approved by the Executive.
This achievement is another landmark of recent efforts towards media democracy in Uruguay. During the past two years, legislation on community broadcasting, access to public information, and national archiving of information was approved. The passing of community broadcasting law in December 2007 represented a major success. The law assigns one-third of radio frequencies to community, non-profit stations. It defines community stations in terms of the nature of their goals (“social mission”) and ownership (“collective properties”) rather in terms of reach or geographical location. It stipulates the existence of the Consejo Honorario Asesor de Radiodifusión Comunitaria, a multi-sectoral committee with significant representation from civil society that oversees the bidding process and monitors the performance of stations to ensure that they meet social goals. The passing of the “freedom of information” law in October 2008, and the elimination of libel and contempt laws are other positive advances. This is encouraging if we consider that, like in the rest of the region, the dominant media system historically conformed with the norm of media policies in Latin America: state patrimonialism and collusion between governments and large business.
More than a decade has passed since Indonesia embarked on the transition from authoritarian rule to building democratic institutions. This week, CommGAP met with Santoso, Managing Director of KBR68H, a Jakarta-based radio news agency founded in 1999, at the dawn of the country’s democratic transition. In addition to its long roster of domestic and international awards, KBR68H is the first media and Southeast Asian organization to receive the King Baudouin International Development Prize, named after the former king of Belgium (click here for a video on KBR68H prepared by the prize sponsor).
One of the most difficult barriers in the field of communication and development is the lack of quantitative empirical evidence that demonstrates the effect of communication on development. When we argue that communication is central to development and increases development effectiveness, economists often raise an eyebrow and ask "Where's the data?" It's a legitimate question. And it's a question we don't have an answer to - yet.
Recently our colleagues from the BBC World Service Trust forwarded us a report on "Governance and the Media," an opinion survey of policy makers in the realm of governance and media development. Late last year CommGAP also commissioned a "Governance Advisors Assessment Study" with virtually similar objectives. Both studies gauge the current thinking on the role of the media in governance, its perceived importance, and obstacles to integrating media work into governance reform. Amazingly, both reports present almost identical results.
“Think of a world where everybody is afraid to speak out, then think of a world where no one is afraid to speak up.”
- Media Development
The third of the ten key issues about development communication is a crucial one and it asserts that there is a significant difference between development communication and other types of communication. What is the difference and why is important? Let us start by defining communication’s most renowned function; i.e.