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Weekly wire: The global forum

Darejani Markozashvili's picture

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

Humanitarian Action and Non-state Armed Groups: The International Legal Framework
Chatham House

A significant number of current conflicts involve non-state armed groups (NSAGs) that exercise control over territory and civilians. Often these civilians are in need of assistance. International humanitarian law (IHL) provides that if the party to an armed conflict with control of civilians is unable or unwilling to meet their needs, offers may be made to carry out relief actions that are humanitarian and impartial in character. The consent of affected states is required but may not be arbitrarily withheld. Once consent has been obtained, parties must allow and facilitate rapid and unimpeded passage of humanitarian relief operations. In responding, humanitarian actors must overcome numerous challenges, including insecurity arising from active hostilities or a breakdown in law and order, or bureaucratic constraints imposed by the parties to the conflict.

Measuring the Business Side: Indicators to Assess Media Viability
DW Akademie

In times of digital transformation media all over the world have to come up with new ways to ensure their survival. Meanwhile, media development actors are searching for new concepts and orientation in their support of media organizations and media markets. This paper presents DW Akademie’s suggestion for new indicators to measure economic viability. The criteria not only take into account the financial strategies and managerial structures of individual media outlets, but also the overall economic conditions in a country as well as the structures of the media market needed to ensure independence, pluralism and professional standards. After all, money talks – and media development should listen.

Land Rights and Global Development
Foreign Affairs

In 1967, an article about land reform in Latin America by the law professor Roy Prosterman caught the attention of the U.S. military, which was struggling to support South Vietnam’s faltering government and to keep poor Vietnamese farmers from abandoning their fields to join the Vietcong. Prosterman’s article argued that secure land rights offered farmers a stable path out of poverty and a reason to stay on their plots. In the years that followed, Prosterman (who later founded Landesa, the land rights group I now direct) worked in Vietnam to understand the problems faced by poor farmers and help the government develop a law to address them. Begun in 1970, South Vietnam’s “land to the tiller” law eventually secured land rights for one million Vietnamese farmers. In the areas of South Vietnam where the law was implemented, between 1970 and 1973 , rice production rose by 30 percent, and monthly Vietcong recruitment fell by 80 percent.

What drives reform? Making sanitation a political priority in secondary cities
Overseas Development Institute
The rapid urbanisation seen by many countries around the world offers great potential for human development. But this comes with a cost. If the human waste produced by our quickly growing cities is not safely managed, the tragedies of stunting, cholera, and child mortality are almost certain to persist. Most of the urban discussion, including on urban sanitation, is focused on capital cities. Yet, in less developed countries, more than half of all urban residents live in smaller cities of one million inhabitants or less (UNDESA, 2014). These smaller, but rapidly expanding, cities face specific development challenges, often having weaker political autonomy and more limited financial resources than the capital.

Political Journalism in a Networked Age
Nieman Reports
In the age of heightened surveillance, the need for—and threat to—watchdog journalism has intensified, with Edward Snowden’s 2013 leak of classified documents signaling what may become a new norm in national security coverage. The impact of surveillance on investigative journalism is among the topics explored in the anthology “Journalism After Snowden: The Future of the Free Press in the Surveillance State,” edited by Emily Bell and Taylor Owen and published by Columbia University Press today. It includes a conversation between Bell and Snowden and an essay by former Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald who in 2013 broke the news of the Snowden revelations.  In “Political Journalism in a Networked Age,” Internet and society scholar Clay Shirky discusses what actions journalists and publications must take to augment their ability to report newsworthy stories while minimizing government interference.

Photo credit: Flickr user fdecomit

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