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

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

The Hamilton Live

Acclaimed jazz saxophonist Tia Fuller has made a name for herself appearing with such high-profile artists as Beyonce, Esperanza Spalding, and Terri Lyne Carrington. Tia and her quartet performed music from her CD “Angelic Warrior” on our latest edition of "The Hamilton Live."