News / Arts & Entertainment

Experts Say Strong Media Essential to Functioning Governments

Experts Say Strong Media Essential to Functioning Governmentsi
X
Mariama Diallo
May 02, 2014 10:30 PM
Experts say a strong media sector is essential to nurturing many areas of a country's development. Well-functioning media institutions can support government and private sector efforts on issues of corruption, accountability, quality-of-life, infrastructure and education. Mariama Diallo looks at how a country's media and development go hand-in-hand.
Mariama Diallo
Experts say a strong media sector is essential to nurturing many areas of a country's development. Well-functioning media institutions can support government and private sector efforts on issues of corruption, accountability, quality-of-life, infrastructure and education. Mariama Diallo looks at how a country's media and development go hand-in-hand.

One of the themes of this year's observance of World Press Freedom Day is the media's importance in development. In a recent report on the post-2015 Development Agenda, the United Nations says a free and independent news media are important for facilitating good governance and transparency. Mark Nelson, with the Center for International Media Assistance, says the media are a critical element in development.

“As economies get more and more sophisticated and as they work more effectively, they need information to propel the decisions and the choices that people make every day. Information is absolutely critical and if that information is good info, you have a much better chance of making the right decision," said Nelson.

Nelson says there are tangible ways to show that a free media can contribute to eradicating poverty. He remembers a radio show while working in Niger about the importance of washing hands.
 
“These radio programs were credited with really helping reduce the transmission rate of some of these diseases. And when people are not sick, when they are able to go to work and they contribute to an economy, then they are able to escape poverty," he said.

Every day this week, the U.S. State Department has highlighted the plight of journalists around the world, especially those who are imprisoned or not allowed to broadcast freely.  Marie Harf, state's deputy spokeswoman, says that being able to express yourself and dialogue about what government you want can lead to a better government.

“If you have an ability for your citizens to stand up and say you are not governing me the way I should be, you are not giving the economic opportunities that our people deserve, you are not taking responsibility as a leader, that leads to accountability," said Harf.

The World Bank Institute spends millions of dollars on programs to help reform certain areas of the media in the developing world. Jeff Thindwa, its social accountability manager, talks about a program named Open Data Boot Camp for Journalists.

“This is a program that takes journalists and civic leaders through training in how to access budget data, public spending data, how to interpret and interrogate that data, how to clean it up and use it to effectively ask the questions that need to be asked." There is a direct link between an open government and a capable media and development outcomes," said Thindwa.,

Thindwa says media have a real stake in how government performs.

"They can be given the capacity to monitor for accountability, to reduce corruption and to report back to citizens and help build and engaged citizenry," he said.

It's often through media outlets that complicated information is deciphered (explained) and delivered to the public.

You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

New in Music Alley

 

 

 

 

Country-pop singer, Lizzie Sider sits down with "Border Crossings" host Larry London to perform songs from her new album, “Butterfly,” and to talk about her anti-bullying tour.

Blogs

African Music Treasures