In my last post, I discussed one of the supreme values undergirding the democratic public sphere: the public use of reason, that is, a commitment to reason, to argumentation, and the possibility of agreement. I discussed the threat posed to that value and the possibilities of the public sphere if claims are based on the supposed demands of a Deity.
I think it is safe to say that on average religious faith plays a bigger role in public life in most developing countries than in the West or in places like China and Russia. In these latter societies, secular humanism appears to reign supreme.
A couple of weeks ago, I attended a viewing and panel discussion of a documentary film entitled Magic Radio: The FM Revolution in Niger at the World Bank headquarters in Washington, D.C. Mainly about the contribution of private FM radio toward enhancing grassroots democracy, the film also illustrates radio’s efficac
I sat down the other day with a group of specialists from a Country Team within the World Bank. We were discussing efforts to improve the governance system in that country and how a Program like ours - CommGAP - could help. It was a good meeting and we agreed on a way forward. But several of the specialists in the room raised a common enough challenge.
In Liberia we have been working with the Ministry of Information and about 50 public relations officers from the various ministries and organizations within the government, including the Ministry of Information, the President's Office, the individual line ministries and a donor-funded economic development program.
This group of Kenyans singing the Indian anthem is part of Pangea Day. In 2006, filmmaker Jehane Noujaim won the annual TED award.
What is the basis of the claim that 'People, Spaces and Deliberation' are central to how you achieve good and accountable governance durably? One way of buttressing is to step back and reflect on two competing interpretations of governance, really, politics. The first interpretation of governance or politics is that it is purely and simply the business of the elite.
One of the foundational commitments of CommGAP is the belief that a national democratic public sphere is an essential and self-perpetuating part of the architecture of good governance. At the very heart of a democratic public sphere is a media system that is independent of government control and is both free and plural.
For those of us who grew up in developing countries, political discourse about poverty is an everyday thing. Political campaigns in the Philippines, for example, place poverty upfront and center. Candidates for local posts, such as barangay (village) councilor, all the way up to the highest office in the archipelago invariably campaign on poverty issues. For instance, memorable slogans from relatively recent elections include "para sa mahirap" ("for the poor") and "pagkain sa bawat mesa" ("food on every table"). Not at all surprising in developing country contexts where poverty and inequality are so ubiquitous.
These reflections ran through my head as I attended a brown bag lunch CommGAP organized a couple of weeks ago on a Panos London publication entitled "Making poverty the story: Time to involve the media in poverty reduction", authored by Angela Wood and Jon Barnes. Presented by Barnes at the brown bag, it incorporates research findings from six African and Asian countries. The paper makes the case that mainstream media are essential in boosting public awareness and debate on poverty reduction.