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

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy 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 Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
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 US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
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.

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."