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

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Soul Lounge

New Orleans-based Water Seed joins Shawna Renee inside the "Soul Lounge" where they introduce listeners to their latest album, a wonderful fusion of jazz, soul and rhythm & blues. The group also explains how the heart of New Orleans influences each of them as musicians and songwriters.