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THE ROLE OF THE MEDIA IN DEEPENING DEMOCRACY SHEILA S.

CORONEL EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Since the 17 th century, the role of the press as Fourth Estate and as a forum for public discussion and debate has been recognized. Today, despite the mass medias propensity for sleaze, sensationalism and superficiality, the notion of the media as watchdog, as guardian of the public interest, and as a conduit between governors and the governed remains deeply ingrained. The reality, however, is that the media in new and restored democracy do not always live up to the ideal. They are hobbled by stringent laws, monopolistic ownership, and sometimes, the threat of brute force. State controls are not the only constraints. Serious reporting is difficult to sustain in competitive media markets that put a premium on the shallow and sensational. Moreover, the media are sometimes used as proxies in the battle between rival political groups, in the process sowing divisiveness rather than consensus, hate speech instead of sober debate, and suspicion rather than social trust. In these cases, the media contribute to public cynicism and democratic decay. Still, in many fledgling democracies, the media have been able to assert their role in buttressing and deepening democracy. Investigative reporting, which in some cases has led to the ouster of presidents and the fall of corrupt governments, has made the media an effective and credible watchdog and boosted its credibility among the public. Investigative reporting has also helped accustom officials to an inquisitive press and helped build a culture of openness and disclosure that has made democratically elected governments more accountable. Training for journalists, manuals that arm reporters with

research tools, and awards for investigative reporting have helped create a corps of independent investigative journalists in several new and restored democracies. Democracy requires the active participation of citizens. Ideally, the media should keep citizens engaged in the business of governance by informing, educating and mobilising the public. In many new democracies, radio has become the medium of choice, as it is less expensive and more accessible. FM and community radio have been effective instruments for promoting grassroots democracy by airing local issues, 2 providing an alternative source of information to official channels, and reflecting ethnic and linguistic diversity. The Internet, too, can play such a role, because of its interactivity, relatively low costs of entry and freedom from state control. The media can also help build peace and social consensus, without which democracy is threatened. The media can provide warring groups mechanisms for mediation, representation and voice so they can settle their differences peacefully. Unfortunately, the media have sometimes fanned the flames of discord by taking sides, reinforcing prejudices, muddling the facts and peddling half-truths. Peace journalism, which is being promoted by various NGOs, endeavours to promote reconciliation through careful reportage that gives voice to all sides of a conflict and resists explanation for violence in terms of innate enmities. Training and the establishment of mechanisms whereby journalists from opposite sides of conflict can interact with the other side, including other journalists representing divergent views, have helped propagate peace journalism. The media can play a positive role in democracy only if there is an enabling environment that allows them to do so. They need the requisite skills for the kind of indepth reporting that a new democracy requires. There should also be mechanisms to ensure they are held accountable to the public and that ethical and professional standards are upheld. Media independence is guaranteed if media organizations are financially

viable, free from intervention of media owners and the state, and operate in a competitive environment. The media should also be accessible to as wide a segment of society as possible. Efforts to help the media should be directed toward: the protection of press rights, enhancing media accountability, building media capacity and democratising media access. 3 I. INTRODUCTION THE MASS MEDIA are often referred to as the fourth branch of government because of the power they wield and the oversight function they exercise. The medias key role in democratic governance has been recognized since the late 17 th century, and remains a fundamental principle of modern-day democratic theory and practice. This paper examines the complex and multi-dimensional linkages among the media, democracy, good governance and peaceful development. The media shape public opinion, but they are in turn influenced and manipulated by different interest groups in society. The media can promote democracy by among other things, educating voters, protecting human rights, promoting tolerance among various social groups, and ensuring that governments are transparent and accountable. The media, however, can play antidemocratic roles as well. They can sow fear, division and violence. Instead of promoting democracy, they can contribute to democratic decay. The paper explains the constraints that hobble the medias ability to play a positive role in new democracies. Monopolistic ownership and stringent government controls are among those constraints. But the market and the race among media firms for audience and market share can degrade the quality of media reporting as well. In addition, unethical journalistic practices and the use of media organizations by various vested and sometimes, xenophobic, interests contribute to the medias inability to fulfil

their democratic function. The paper looks at the variety of ways in which the various media have been used to support democracy and development. The media, for example, have exposed malfeasance in high office, resulting in the resignation or toppling of heads of state and in the enactment of governance reforms. In addition, in many new and restored democracies, the media have contributed to public education and enlightenment, reconciliation among warring social groups, and to initiating much-needed political and social reforms. The paper ends with a list recommendations that will help create an enabling environment for the media and ensure that they make a positive contribution to democratic development. II. THE MEDIAS ROLE IN A DEMOCRACY 4 DEMOCRACY is impossible without a free press. This is a precept that is deeply ingrained in democratic theory and practice. As early as the 17 th century, Enlightenment theorists had argued that publicity and openness provide the best protection against tyranny and the excesses of arbitrary rule. In the early 1700s, the French political philosopher Montesquieu, raging against the secret accusations delivered by Palace courtiers to the French King, prescribed publicity as the cure for the abuse of power. English and American thinkers later in that century would agree with Montesquieu, recognizing the importance of the press in making officials aware of the publics discontents and allowing governments to rectify their errors. 1

Since then, the press has been widely proclaimed as the Fourth Estate, a coequal branch of government that provides the check and balance without which

governments cannot be effective. For this reason, democrats through the centuries have tended to take the Enlightenments instrumentalist view of the press. Thomas Jefferson, for all his bitterness against journalistic criticism celebrated the press, arguing that only through the exchange of information and opinion through the press would the truth emerge. Thus the famous Jeffersonian declaration: Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without government, I should not hesitate to prefer the latter. Modern-day democrats are as hyperbolic in their praise of the press. Despite the present-day mass medias propensity for sleaze, sensationalism and superficiality, they are still seen as essential democratic tools. Contemporary democratic theory appreciates the medias role in ensuring governments are held accountable. In both new and old democracies, the notion of the media as watchdog and not merely a passive recorder of events is widely accepted. Governments, it is argued, cannot be held accountable if citizens are ill informed about the actions of officials and institutions. The watchdog press is guardian of the public interest, warning citizens against those who are doing them harm. A fearless and effective watchdog is critical in fledgling democracies where institutions are weak and pummelled by political pressure. When legislatures, judiciaries

1 Stephen Holmes, Liberal constraints on private power? in Judith Lichtenberg (ed), Democracy and the Mass Media, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991. pp. 21-65. 5 and other oversight bodies are powerless against the mighty or are themselves corruptible, the media are often left as the only check against the abuse of power. This requires that they play a heroic role, exposing the excesses of presidents, prime ministers,

legislators and magistrates despite the risks. The media also serve as a conduit between governors and the governed and as an arena for public debate that leads to more intelligent policy- and decision-making. Indeed, the Enlightenment tradition of the press as public forum remains strong. The press, wrote U.S. television journalist Bill Moyers in the early 1990s, should draw citizens to the public square and provide a culture of community conversation by activating inquiry on serious public issues. 2 In new democracies, the expectation is that the media would help build a civic culture and a tradition of discussion and debate which was not possible during the period of authoritarian rule. Not just journalists, but eminent contemporary thinkers like Nobel laureate Amartya Sen ascribe to the press the same cleansing powers that Enlightenment philosophers had envisioned. Sen outlined the need for transparency guarantees such as a free press and the free flow of information. Information and critical public discussion, he said, are an inescapably important requirement of good public policy. These guarantees, he wrote, have a clear instrumental role in preventing corruption, financial irresponsibility and underhanded dealings. Sen sees the media as a watchdog not just against corruption but also against disaster. There has never been a famine in a functioning multiparty democracy, he said. A free press and the practice of democracy contribute greatly to bringing out information that can have an enormous impact on policies for famine prevention a free press and an active political opposition constitute the best early-warning system a country threatened by famine could have. 3

Since the late 1990s, donor countries and multilateral organizations have also been preaching the virtues of a free press not just in ensuring good and accountable governance but also as a tool for poverty reduction, popular empowerment and national reconciliation.

2 Bill Moyers, Overcoming Civic Literacy in Media Reader: Perspectives on Mass Media Industries, Effects, and Issues, 2 nd Edition, Belmont: Wadsworth Publishing Company, 1993. 3 Amartya Sen, Development and Freedom, New York: Anchor Books, 1999. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) says that addressing poverty requires not just a transfer of economic resources to the needy but also making information available to the poor so that they can participate more meaningfully in political and social life. 4 After all, the poor cannot assert their rights if they dont know what these are. If they are unaware of the laws and procedures for availing themselves of their entitlements or the mechanisms they can use to remedy their deprivations, they will always remain poor. Democracy cannot take root if the poor and powerless are kept out of the public sphere. The argument is that effective media are the key as they can provide the information poor people need to take part in public life. Ideally, the media should provide voice to those marginalized because of poverty, 6

gender, or ethnic or religious affiliation. By giving these groups a place in the media, their views and their afflictions become part of mainstream public debate and hopefully contribute to a social consensus that the injustices against them ought to be redressed. In this way, the media also contribute to the easing of social conflicts and to promoting reconciliation among divergent social groups. All these are extrapolations on the medias role as virtual town hall or public square: by providing information and acting as a forum for public debate, the media play a catalytic role, making reforms possible through the democratic process and in the end strengthening democratic institutions and making possible public participation, without which democracy is mere sham. III. CONSTRAINTS ON THE MEDIA THE REALITY, however, is that the media in new and restored democracies are not always up to the task. For sure, democracy has been a boon to the press. New constitutions are written that provide guarantees of press freedom and the right to information, allowing journalists to report on areas that were previously taboo. In addition, democratically elected legislatures have enacted laws that allow both journalists and ordinary citizens much more access to information on government policy and the actions of politicians than in the past.

4 Corruption and Good Governance: Discussion Paper 3, published by the Management Development and Governance Division, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, United Nations Development Programme, 1997. 7 Today, in most countries that have undergone a democratic transition since the 1980s, the press is an important player on the political stage. Journalists are often feared

by politicians because they have succeeded in uncovering corruption, the abuse of power and assorted malfeasance. They are also relentlessly wooed because a bad press can mean the end of a political career. Policies have been changed, reforms initiated and corrupt officials including presidents and prime ministers ousted partly because of media exposs. In many new democracies, an adversarial press is part of the political process and it is hard to imagine how governments would function without it. Yet, despite constitutional guarantees and in many cases, also wide public support, the media in fledgling democracies have been hobbled by stringent laws, monopolistic ownership and sometimes, brute force. In 2002, 20 journalists were killed because of their work and 136 were in prison because authorities were displeased with their reporting. Many of these victims were reporting in new democracies. 5 State controls are not the only constraints. Serious reporting is difficult to sustain in media markets that put a premium on the shallow and the sensational. A media explosion often follows the fall of dictatorships. After Ferdinand Marcos was toppled in 1986, for example, scores of new newspapers and radio stations sprang up in the Philippines, as citizens basked in the novelty of a free press. In Indonesia, hundreds of new newspapers opened after the 32-year reign of President Soeharto ended in 1998. Indonesians called it the euphoria press. Euphoria is a wonderful thing, but it does not always give birth to good journalism. The same is the case for Central and Eastern Europe and the newly independent states of the former Soviet Union, where there was a lack of skilled journalists to staff the news organisations created by the media boom. The boom also results in intense competition, which often means racing for the headlines and sacrificing substance and depth. The competition for the market has meant that the media in most new

democracies have succumbed to the global trend of dumbing down the news. This is especially the case in television, where reports on crime and entertainment drown out the more important news of the day. The stress on glitzy effects and bite-size news reports

5 Committee to Protect Journalists, Attacks on the Press in 2002. New York: Committee to Protect Journalists, 2003. 8 leaves no time for serious and in-depth discussion of the issues that matter. The result is that public discourse is dumbed down as well, as both officials and citizens respond to the infotainment type of news they get. Moreover, in many newsrooms, even in affluent countries, tight budgets do not allow for the investment in time and resources that solid journalism requires. Even as the media in many countries are a profitable enterprise, media managers would rather put their money on technology and effects rather than on reportage. In addition, journalists often do not have the experience and the training to do the kind of contextualised reporting that a new democracy needs. Even if they did, the pecuniary and political interests of media owners limit the freedom of journalists to conduct exposs. In many countries, ownership of the media is controlled by a few vested business and political interests. A 2001 study of 97 countries by the World Bank shows that throughout the world, media monopolies dominate. The study says: In our sample of 97 countries, only four percent of media enterprises are widely held. Less than two percent have other ownership structures (apart from family or state control), and a mere two percent are employee owned. On average family-controlled newspapers account for 57 percent of our sample, and families control 34 percent of television stations. State ownership is vast. On average the state controls approximately

29 percent of newspapers and 60 percent of television stations. The state owns a huge share 72 percent of radio stations. The media industry is therefore owned overwhelmingly by parties most likely to extract private benefits of control. 6 Indeed, media owners have not been shy about extracting such private benefits. In the new democracies, media magnates have used their newspapers or broadcast stations to promote their business interests, cut down their rivals, and in other ways advance their political or business agenda. State ownership, meanwhile, allows government functionaries to clamp down on critical reporting and recalcitrant reporters and enables the government to propagate its unchallenged views among the people. The interests of media owners often determine media content and allow the media to be manipulated by vested interests.

6 Simeon Djankov, Caralee McLeish, Tatiana Nenova and Andrei Shleifer, Who Owns the Media? Draft paper for the World Banks World Development Report 2001. 9 In Thailand, for example, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra owns the only independent television network in the country. The rest of the broadcast media is stateowned or controlled, thus enabling the Thaksin government to have a monopoly of the airwaves. Anti-Thaksin journalists and commentators have been removed from the air, so broadcast news is now subservient to the government. The Prime Minister has also sought to silence the vibrant Thai newspapers by putting the squeeze on their advertising (he owns the largest telecommunications company, a major advertiser, and has also banned government ads in critical newspapers) and by initiating an investigation into the assets of newspaper owners. The result: acquiescence, muted criticism and a general hushing of public debate on crucial issues.

In some instances, the media are used as proxies in the battle between rival political groups, in the process sowing divisiveness rather than consensus, hate speech instead of sober debate, and suspicion rather than social trust. In these cases, the media can be anti-democratic, contributing to cynicism about government and democratic decay. The public loses confidence in the media and in democratic institutions in general. The result is public apathy and democratic breakdown. IV. GOOD PRACTICES: HOW THE MEDIA HAVE PROMOTED DEMOCRACY AND GOOD GOVERNANCE IN MANY NEW democracies, the mass media are challenged by market forces, illiberal states, and in some cases, a hostile or apathetic citizenry. Yet despite these, news organizations and media NGOs in many countries have managed to assert the medias role in buttressing and deepening democracy. The following sections describe some of the ways in which media groups have lived up to the democratic ideal of the press as watchdog, public forum, catalyst of social reform, and builder of peace and consensus. A. Investigative Reporting: The Media as Watchdog Perhaps the most instructive case is that of Latin America, where it is widely acknowledged that sustained investigative reporting on corruption, human rights violations and other forms of wrongdoing has helped build a culture of accountability in government and strengthened the fledgling democracies of the continent. There, media 10 exposure, particularly of corruption in high places, has helped bring down governments. The downfall of four presidents Fernando Collor de Mello of Brazil in 1992, Carlos Andres Perez of Venezuela in 1993, Abdala Bucaram of Ecuador in 1997 and Alberto Fujimori in 2000 was due in large measure to investigative reporting on their complicity in corrupt deals. Such reporting has made the press a credible and prestigious institution in the regions new democracies. Because it has functioned

effectively and independently, the media enjoy the publics support and trust. In Southeast Asias new democracies, sustained reporting on malfeasance in public life has resulted in the ouster of corrupt officials and raised public awareness on the need for reform. In the Philippines, investigative reporting provided evidence that led to impeachment charges being filed against President Joseph Estrada in 2000 and fuelled public outrage against his excesses. Estrada was ousted from office in a popular uprising on the streets of Manila in January 2001. In Thailand, investigative reports unearthed evidence of the shadowy business dealings of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. In Indonesia, the press has uncovered wrongdoing that led to the filing of charges against high officials, including the powerful speaker of Parliament, Akbar Tanjung, in 2001. This success has come at a great cost. The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists tallied 117 journalists killed in Latin America from 1988 to 1998. 7 In the Philippines, 36 journalists have been slain since the restoration of democracy in 1986. 8 In Thailand and Indonesia, crusading journalists have been beaten up, threatened and killed. Worldwide, 15 of the 68 murdered journalists in 2001 were slain because of investigative work related to corruption. 9 Most of the murders have taken place in countries where the rule of law is weak and the judiciary is unable and unwilling to defend press rights. Because the courts are dishonest and inept, the killers seldom get punished. Those who wish the press ill whether they are officials, drug cartels or insurgent movements involved in illicit trades

or the protection of crime can operate with impunity.

7 Joel Simon, Overview of the Americas, in Attacks on the Press 1998, New York: Committee to Protect Journalists, p. 159. 8 Ma. Roselle B. Miranda, Targeting Journalists, Philippine Journalism Review, October 2002, pp. 16-20. 9 Bettina Peters, The Medias Role: Covering or Covering up Corruption? in Transparency International, Global Corruption Report 2003, Berlin: Transparency International, p.48. 11 It is obvious that at the most basic level, a free press and investigative reporting are possible only where journalists enjoy some protection. Fledgling democracies have constitutional and legal provisions to defend the press, but these do not always ensure that the media can report without fear or favour. The rights of journalists must be upheld by an independent judiciary and protected by the rule of law. In Latin America and Southeast Asia, many of those murdered were the victims of small-town bosses able to terrorise communities because weak states cannot enforce the law and provide protection to their citizens, journalists included. That is why the press often seems caught in a chicken-and-egg situation. Its freedoms are not guaranteed unless other democratic institutions perform their functions well; but these institutions are unable to do so because there is no independent check on their performance, in part because the press is threatened and bullied. It is often up to crusading journalists to break this impasse despite the risks. In many places, there is no shortage of journalists willing to take on this task. But many have neither the skills nor the training that investigative reporting requires.

Moreover, news organizations may not be willing to put in the investment in time, resources for research and the development of reportorial talent that investigative journalism needs. Investigative reporting also threatens to upset the cosy relationships between media owners and their friends among the upper crust of business and politics. Press proprietors are wary that hard-hitting exposs might turn off advertisers. Given these obstacles, the only way that investigative reports can make any headway in the media free market is to show that they can sell newspapers and news programs and that there is an audience for serious reporting. The truth is that in many countries, investigative reports do sell. They generate a great deal of public reaction and bring recognition to news organisations. The key is to get newsrooms to initiate and invest in investigations despite the costs and the risks. One way is to convince them of the rewards, in terms of increased audience share, name-brand recognition or professional prestige. Awards for investigative reporting offer one way to encourage this trend. 12 Other, less tangible benefits are perhaps even more important. Carefully researched, high-impact investigative reports help build the medias credibility and support among the public. The press as an institution is strengthened if journalists have demonstrated that they serve the public interest by uncovering malfeasance and abuse. A credible press is assured of popular backing if it is muzzled or otherwise constrained. Such support may not be forthcoming if journalists squander their freedoms on the superficial and the sensational. Moreover, by constantly digging for information, by forcing government and the private sector to release documents and by subjecting officials and other powerful individuals to rigorous questioning, investigative journalists expand the boundaries of

what is possible to print or air. At the same time, they accustom officials to an inquisitive press. Officials eventually realise that releasing information benefits the government. Without a free flow of official information, journalists will tend to report lies, rumours and speculations, with no one the better for it. It may take time, but officials must be convinced that informed citizens make better citizens, even if in the process government takes a beating in the press. Any government, no matter how corrupt or autocratic, has reform-minded officials and bureaucrats who appreciate the journalists role and are willing to co-operate with reporters in the release of information. In the long term, the constant give and take between journalists and officials helps develop a culture and a tradition of disclosure. One way to jumpstart investigative journalism is by conducting special training on reporting techniques as well as on reading financial statements, constructing databases and researching on the Internet. Several national and international media groups are now conducting such training programs. Manuals for investigative reporters, including those that provide tips on where appropriate documents can be found and the procedures for accessing them, arm journalists with the tools they need for conducting research. Independent centres for investigative reporting have been set up in new democracies like the Philippines, Nepal and Bangladesh. These centres produce model investigative reports, train journalists and publish training manuals. Through these efforts, they have succeeded in promoting investigative reporting among journalists and citizens. 13 In Latin America, Probidad, an NGO based in El Salvador set up a monitored email discussion group called Journalists against Corruption in 2000. This makes possible the exchange of articles, opinions, announcements and resources among Latin American journalists probing corruption. More than 600 journalists have so far signed up. A similar initiative was established by the International Federation of Journalists in Africa, which

put up a website offering free information to African journalists reporting on corruption and governance. 10 2. The Press as Information Tool and Forum for Discussion A truly democratic society requires citizen participation. If they do their jobs well, the media keep citizens engaged in the business of governance and prompt them to take action. As a tool for information dissemination, the media aid the public in making informed choices, such as whom to vote for and which policies should be endorsed and which, opposed. Ideally newspapers and public affairs programs on radio and television should inform, educate and engage the public. The medias track record so far in new democracies, however, is uneven. Because of the need to cater to the market or to kowtow to the state, the media often shirk their civic responsibility and contribute to civic illiteracy instead of public enlightenment. Elections are a key democratic exercise, one where the media can have both positive and negative impacts. As societies become more modernized and the media become ever more pervasive, the influence of traditional patrons, parties and institutions (like churches) on the electoral process is diminished. Instead, candidates and parties make their appeal and propagate their messages through the media. This is one reason why election campaigns in many countries are now much more expensive: The cost of television and newspaper advertising is huge and now accounts for a substantial chunk of campaign costs. Well-funded candidates often have a better chance of being voted into office simply because they can buy air time and newspaper space. In some countries, candidates also bribe journalists and editors who endorse their candidacies in various ways.

10 Ibid. 14 Media-oriented campaigns have not necessarily meant more enlightened electorates. As the example of U.S. elections, which are being mimicked by many new democracies, shows, TV-oriented campaigns tend to put more emphasis on sound bites and glamour, rather than substance and depth. Candidates preen before the electorate, whose choices are often determined by how well the contenders project themselves on the screen. Still, the media in new democracies have contributed to public education on elections. Public-affairs programs on radio and television provide the depth, context and critical analysis that news programs and commercials do not. In addition, in countries like the Philippines and Indonesia, TV and radio networks have produced sophisticated public-service announcements enjoining voters to choose wisely and warning them of the consequences of selling their vote. Debates sponsored by media organizations have been organised, enabling candidates who do not have the money to buy air time to articulate their views to a wide audience. The media have likewise given time and space to independent advocates and NGOs campaigning for clean elections and an end to money politics. Despite these, however, moneyed candidates who have favoured access to the media still have the edge. The media playing field, as far as elections go, remains uneven. In many new democracies, radio has become the medium of choice, taking the place of newspapers in drawing citizens to the town square for discussion and debate. Compared to television, radio is a less expensive and more accessible medium and is especially popular in poor countries where the media infrastructure is not well developed. FM radio with its localised signal can be an instrument for promoting grassroots

democracy. In Nepal, it took five years after the restoration of democracy for the government to give in to demands by civil society and journalists who argued that it was unconstitutional for the government to monopolise control of the airwaves. In 1996, Nepal became the first country in South Asia to license a non-governmental FM station, Radio Sagarmatha 102.4. Today there are 25 FM stations all over the country and many of them are networked for exchanging programmes and news. FM stations in Nepal have emerged as a true alternative source of information to official channels, and because they are local they focus on local issues and reflect Nepal's ethnic and linguistic diversity. 15 By decentralising communications, Nepal's rural broadcasters have shown that radio can help in giving people the chance to make informed choices and ultimately strengthen the democratic process. Radio Swargadwari in the insurgency-wracked Dang district in western Nepal is such a reliable source of information that it is staple fare for government officials, local citizens and Maoist guerrillas alike. The Internet, too, has proven to be a much more democratic medium than newspapers or television, allowing a freer exchange of views for a variety of social groups. In many new democracies, civil society groups and NGOs have found the Internet an effective tool for disseminating information and opinion and also for mobilizing for protest actions. In 2000, in the heat of the mass protest against Philippine President Estrada, the Internet was a hive of activity for Filipino activists who mounted cyber-rallies and online signature campaigns, mobilizing students, the middle class and also overseas Filipinos who could not participate in protests at home. There are some 7.5 million Filipinos working abroad, and it was through the Web that they kept track of events and took part in social protest. Elsewhere, the Web has served as a bulletin board for citizens. Interactivity, low

costs of entry and relative freedom from state control give the Internet an edge over the other media. In Central and Eastern Europe, NGOs and media organizations have used the Web to educate the public on elections, political parties and candidates. For example, in the local elections held in Romania this year, independent portals like Romania Online and Election.ro, which were set up by Internet Service Providers (ISPs), sometimes jointly with newspapers, provided political news, results of pre-election polls and other election-related information. Some Romanian students even put up their own website, Electoral2000.ro, on which they mounted an interactive political game to get citizens enthused about the elections. 11 More traditional media like newspapers have also played an educational and informational role, filling the knowledge gap that other social institutions cannot breach. For example, in 2000, the Panamanian daily La Prensa designed a six-week educational supplement to its Sunday edition, targeted at first and second grade students. The papers

11 Alex Ulmanu, Romanian Election Enters Net Battleground, in Online Journalism Review, http://www.ojr.org/ojr/technology/1017962590.php. 16 editors believed that students lacked basic information about their country, so the supplements provided lessons on history, geography and politics. The contents included new information that students could not get in their textbooks, so teachers used the supplements in their classes and the newspaper donated copies to 140 schools. These lessons on citizenship led to a dramatic increase in circulation and advertising, producing healthy profits for a paper that dared to perform its civic function. 12

Media companies often blame the need to compete in a tight market for their inability to live up to democratic ideals of the press. But recent experience has shown this need not always be the case. The Indonesian newsmagazine Tempo, for example, provides a weekly analysis of the news in addition to original reporting on current affairs, proving that good, solid journalism that appeals to readers as citizens sells. Tempo, which is one of the most respected and best-selling publications in Indonesia, is seen as a beacon of democracy and has influenced public opinion on issues of governance, human rights and ethnic and religious conflict. Its commercial success has not blunted the edge of its journalism. 3. The Media as Peace and Consensus Builder Democracy cannot thrive in countries that are in the grip of violence and strife. Ideally, democracy should provide warring groups mechanisms for mediation, representation and voice so that they can settle their differences peacefully. If it is constantly challenged by violence and dissension, the fabric of democracy will become frayed. Unfortunately, this is the case in many new democracies where the removal of state restraints has led to the revival of age-old enmities once held in check by authoritarian governments. The bloody conflicts that erupted in the former Yugoslavia provide dramatic testimony of this reality. The experience thus far has shown that the media have not a played neutral role in conflict. In many cases, they have fanned the flames of discord by taking sides, reinforcing prejudices, muddling the facts and peddling half-truths. The media have also been criticised for sensationalising violence without explaining the roots of conflict. The media ignore peace-building efforts, critics say, even as they give full coverage to warmongering. In some cases, they have sowed hate speech and encouraged violence. At

12 Cited in the World Bank, World Development Report 2002, p. 182. 17 the height of the conflict in Rwanda in the 1990s, a radio station that had been supported by international donors became the mouthpiece of extremists who favoured and encouraged genocide. 13

Recognising the crucial role that the media play in conflict situations, many NGOs have embarked on training journalists in what is called peace journalism, which endeavours to promote reconciliation through careful reportage that gives voice to all sides of a conflict and resists explanations for violence in terms of innate enmities or ancient hatreds. Peace journalism avoids giving undue attention to violence, focusing instead on the impact of war on communities on both sides of the divide and their efforts to bridge their differences. Peace journalism has been promoted through the training of journalists covering conflict, including journalists who come from the various religious or ethnic groups currently at war. Various NGOs regularly offer courses on peace journalism. Innovative approaches include efforts by the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) in Indonesia, which in 2001 set up in the strife-torn city of Ambon in the Moluccas Islands a media centre where both Moslem and Christian journalists could get together, learn from each other and share resources. Since bloody clashes between Moslems and Christians broke out in Ambon in late 1997, the press became polarized. Moslems, including journalists, were confined to the Moslem quarter of the city and had no access to Christian communities. The same was true of the Christians. This resulted in one-sided reporting and only served to intensify the hatreds in the community. The media centre

facilitated information exchanges and made sources from both Christians and Moslems available to journalists of various faiths. It also allowed the journalists to get to know and visit each other, crossing the boundary that had divided the city. These efforts are helping build trust between journalists on one side and government, NGOs, military and police on the other. Such trust, in turn, has helped consolidate public support for the peace process. 14

13 Office of Democracy and Governance, Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance, U.S. Agency for International Development, The Enabling Environment for Free and Independent Media: Contribution to Transparent and Accountable Governance, Occasional Papers Series, January 2002, p. 4. 14 P. Bambang Wisudo, Broadening Access to Information as a Way of Ending War Journalism, paper presented in a conference on Access to Information in Southeast Asia, held in Hua Hin, Thailand, 4-6 March 2002. 18 Another innovative effort to bridge differences among various groups was a multi-ethnic reporting team that was organized in Macedonia in 1995. The team consisted of one reporter each from a Macedonian-language daily, an Albanian-language daily, a Turkish language paper and a Macedonian-language radio station. The team did joint interviews and field visits to describe the current situation in Macedonia, showing how all ethnic groups suffered from the economic crisis and how they were battling for survival in extremely hard times. 15

Community radio is especially helpful in bridging the gap between communities. In Colombia, a group of NGOs and community radio stations formed SIPAZ (Sistema Nacional de Comunicacion para la Paz or National Communication System for Peace), which operates in areas where violence involving guerrillas, the military and drug dealers is particularly intense. SIPAZ encourages the stations in its network to produce and exchange news that will foster peace and tolerance. It also produces a news program that is sent via the Internet to 42 community radio stations and NGO partners throughout Colombia. SIPAZ does not cover violence and conflict as there is already sufficient coverage of these in the mainstream media. But it reports on the aftermath and the consequences of conflicts and provides the context in which the violence takes place. SIPAZ also tries to articulate the aspirations of communities for peace and development and incorporates local cultural practices into its programs. 16

Radio for Peace International (RFPI or Radio Paz Internacional), based in Costa Rica, promotes peace journalism on a global scale via short-wave radio and the Internet. RFPI gets its programs from independent producers and media activists from around the world. An independent radio station, it aims to enhance understanding by providing a spectrum of voices to a range of media users who tune in to 24-hour short-wave broadcasts from the RFPIs transmitters in El Rodeo, Costa Rica. RFPI also monitors and documents hate radio and the use of the media by extremist groups. 17

15 How We Survive: A series of Special Reports from Macedonia, in http://www.mediadiversity.org/articles_publications/how%20we%20survive.htm. 16 Angela Castellanos, SIPAZ: Peace Journalism in Rural Colombia, in http://www.idrc.ca/reports/read_article_english.cfm?article_num=1029. 17 http://www.rfpi.org. 19 RECOMMENDATIONS AND IMPLICATIONS FOR ACTION THE MEDIA can make full use of their potential to contribute to the consolidation of democracy if their rights are protected. Moreover they need to have the requisite skills for the kind of textured and in-depth reporting that new democracies require. Because the media are powerful, there should also be mechanisms to ensure they are held accountable to the public and that ethical and professional standards are upheld. Media independence is guaranteed if media organizations are financially viable, free from the intervention of media owners and operate in a competitive media environment. Finally, the medias power is enhanced if they have broad reach in, and support from, society. Democracy suffers if large segments of society are inaccessible to the media and therefore excluded from the arena of public debate. Various initiatives which have contributed to creating an enabling environment that allows the media to be an effective agent for deepening democracy and which strengthen the media as a democratic institution include the following: Protection of Journalists. In many fledgling democracies, the media become the target of reprisal from powerful groups and individuals who benefit from the silence of a muzzled press. Journalists need to be protected by laws that guarantee their rights. In many new democracies, old laws dating back from the authoritarian past impose harsh

punishments for libel, restrict access to official information and impose strict licensing requirements for media companies. The repeal of these laws and the enactment of more liberal legislation can have a liberating effect on the media. So will judicial and legal reforms that ensure courts will defend the rights of journalists and punish those guilty of doing them harm. In many countries, press associations have played an important role in monitoring, protesting and raising public outrage against attacks on journalists. They have helped raise funds for libel defence, provided refuge for journalists in danger of physical attack, and conducted high-level dialogues with officials. In Latin America since the mid-1990s, the media fended off attacks from officials offended by critical reporting by forming national press associations. When journalists are united in protesting abuses against the press and willing to cover attacks against their colleagues even when they 20 come from rival publications, leaders are forced to heed, wrote Joel Simon of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). 18 National press freedom groups in Peru, Argentina, Colombia, Brazil, Guatemala and Mexico, together with journalists unions in Paraguay and Ecuador, have been vigilant in documenting and protesting abuses as well as raising a public outcry against them. At a regional level, the Bangkok-based Southeast Asian Press Alliance (Seapa) has written letters of protest and raised awareness about press rights among officials, journalists and the public in Southeast Asia. 19 Similarly, the Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) monitors attacks against journalists and issues alerts to a network of NGOs

whenever press rights are violated. 20

International groups defending the rights of journalists such as Reporters sans Frontiers, the Committee to Protect Journalists, Article 19, the International Federation of Journalists and the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (Ifex) provide timely intervention by loudly protesting any violation of press rights and subjecting erring governments to international scrutiny. Enhancing Media Accountability. The medias credibility as a democratic institution is enhanced if they are accountable to the public, acknowledge their mistakes and ensure that ethical and professional standards are upheld. A sensational and triggerhappy press does not contribute to intelligent discussion and debate and soon loses public support. In many new democracies, press and broadcast councils composed of media representatives have taken the lead in enforcing ethical standards and codes of conduct. These councils mediate between the public and the media. Some hear grievances against erring news organisations and impose sanctions. The Indonesian Press Council has also held dialogues involving the media, officials and citizens groups, some of which have organised their supporters to attack media offices they accuse of unfair reporting. By

18 Joel Simon, Banding Together, in Attacks on the Press in 1998, New York: Committee to Protect Journalists, 1992, p.201. 19 See http://www.seapabkk.org 20

See http://www.misanet.org 21 providing aggrieved parties a forum for airing their grievances and by explaining to them how the media work, the Press Council hopes to minimize such attacks. 21

Press associations can a play a role not just in defending journalists but also in raising ethical standards. The Thai Journalists Association has issued warnings to journalists about possible ethical lapses, including receiving gifts from sources. The Alliance of Independent Journalists in Indonesia has launched an anti-envelop awareness campaign where journalists wear T-shirts or ribbons saying, I dont take envelops, alluding to the common practice of providing reporters envelops of cash during press conferences. Independent media monitors and journalism reviews contribute to media accountability by assessing media performance, exposing unethical practices and inviting the public to a dialogue about the medias work. Somewhat similar efforts have been undertaken by womens NGOs in various countries which monitor how the media cover womens issues. Overall, independent efforts to watch the watchdog have contributed to the media being more responsive to public sensitivities and to be more vigilant against lapses in professional conduct. In turn, a professional press is a more effective watchdog and forum for public debate. Building Media Capacity. In nearly all countries that have undergone a democratic transition since the 1980s, it is widely acknowledged that a major factor that hobbles media development is the lack of skills. Newspapers and broadcast stations liberated from the constraints imposed by dictatorship find that reporting on a democracy requires new skills and fresh talent. Freedom alone does not suffice. Journalists have to

be weaned away from reliance on press releases, press conferences and information ministries. They must learn how to write with depth and insight and also be adept in a variety of fields. Newsroom training in many new democracies is sorely lacking. Sometimes, press institutes, universities and media NGOs pick up the slack. Many donors now fund training programmes, and many initiatives, such as journalist exchanges, have been developed. But these do not suffice. It takes time to develop a highly skilled corps of

21 Atmakusumah Astraatmadja, Indonesia: Press Freedom in a Fledgling Democracy, in Watching the Watchdog: Media Self-Regulation in Southeast Asia, Bangkok: Southeast Asian Press Alliance, 2003, p. 52-57. 22 journalists that a professional press requires and newsrooms too often abdicate their responsibility to ensure the advancement of reportorial talent within their ranks. In some countries, the problem is that news organisations remain reliant on state subsidies and so cannot be truly independent. In other cases, it is not the state but wealthy businesspeople who subsidise the media, which end up being mouthpieces for their interests. News organisations must work toward financial viability so they can buy their independence. As a study on the media in Central and Eastern Europe and the newly independent states of the former Soviet Union recommended, news organisations should be given training in financial management as well as assistance in setting up advertising and business departments. Media owners, the study said, need forums to work out arrangements such as circulation audits, advertising rates and production and distribution networks. 22

The Media Development Loan Fund based in Prague gives out loans and assistance to help struggling media companies in new democracies become financially viable. The Fund also arranges for investors who will infuse new capital in these companies and introduces new technologies that will help enhance their viability. Democratising Access. The media can be effective only if they are accessible to a wide section of the population. Otherwise, they only exacerbate the marginalisation of social sectors that have access neither to the media nor to the centres of wealth and power. Efforts to democratise access include subsiding community and local media, especially in poor and remote areas or in places where groups, such as indigenous peoples, have traditionally been at the margins of social life. The Nepal Press Institute, for example, has pioneered in the establishment of community-published wall newspapers, which are mounted in community centres in the remote reaches of that mountainous country. Elsewhere, community radio and small cable TV stations have allowed groups not represented in the national media to have a voice for airing their grievances and aspirations. Subsidies that enable poor communities to purchase computers and have Internet access or community centres that provide Internet access at minimal cost help reduce the

22 Freedom House, Media Responses to Corruption in Emerging Democracies: Bulagaria, Hungary, Romania, Ukraine, p. 10, http://freedomhouse.org/reports/mediatxt.html. 23 gap between sections of the population that have can afford the new technology and those who cannot. Public libraries or reading rooms that allow citizens to read newspapers, especially in places where they cannot afford to buy them, also help make the press more

available to a wider audience. Making the media available to a broad segment of society helps redress long-standing social inequities and gives representation and voice to citizens so they can participate more meaningfully in public life WHAT

IS

GOOD

GOVERNANCE?
Recently the terms "governance" and "good governance" are being increasingly used in development literature. Bad governance is being increasingly regarded as one of the root causes of all evil within our societies. Major donors and international financial institutions are increasingly basing their aid and loans on the condition that reforms that ensure "good governance" are undertaken. This article tries to explain, as simply as possible, what "governance" and "good governance" means. GOVERNANCE The concept of "governance" is not new. It is as old as human civilization. Simply put "governance" means: the process of decision-making and the process by which decisions are implemented (or not implemented). Governance can be used in several contexts such as corporate governance, international governance, national governance and local governance. Since governance is the process of decision-making and the process by which decisions are implemented, an analysis of governance focuses on the formal and informal actors involved in decision-making and implementing the decisions made and the formal and informal structures that have been set in place to arrive at and implement the decision. Government is one of the actors in governance. Other actors involved in governance vary depending on the level of government that is under discussion. In rural areas, for example, other actors may include influential land lords, associations of peasant farmers, cooperatives, NGOs, research institutes, religious leaders, finance institutions political parties, the military etc. The situation in urban areas is much more complex. Figure 1 provides the interconnections between actors involved in urban governance. At the national level, in addition to the above actors, media, lobbyists, international donors, multi-national corporations, etc. may play a role in decision-making or in influencing the decision-making process. All actors other than government and the military are grouped together as part of the "civil society." In some countries in addition to the civil society, organized crime syndicates also influence decision-making, particularly in urban areas and at the national level. Similarly formal government structures are one means by which decisions are arrived at and implemented. At the national level, informal decision-making structures, such as "kitchen cabinets" or informal advisors may exist. In urban areas, organized crime syndicates such as the "land Mafia" may influence decisionmaking. In some rural areas locally powerful families may make or influence decision-making. Such, informal decision-making is often the result of corrupt practices or leads to corrupt practices.

Click to Enlarge Figure 1: Urban actors GOOD GOVERNANCE Good governance has 8 major characteristics. It is participatory, consensus oriented, accountable, transparent, responsive, effective and efficient, equitable and inclusive and follows the rule of law. It assures that corruption is minimized, the views of minorities are taken into account and that the voices of the most vulnerable in society are heard in decision-making. It is also responsive to the present and future needs of society.

Figure 2: Characteristics of good governance Participation

Participation by both men and women is a key cornerstone of good governance. Participation could be either direct or through legitimate intermediate institutions or representatives. It is important to point out that representative democracy does not necessarily mean that the concerns of the most vulnerable in society would be taken into consideration in decision making. Participation needs to be informed and organized. This means freedom of association and expression on the one hand and an organized civil society on the other hand. Rule of law Good governance requires fair legal frameworks that are enforced impartially. It also requires full protection of human rights, particularly those of minorities. Impartial enforcement of laws requires an independent judiciary and an impartial and incorruptible police force. Transparency Transparency means that decisions taken and their enforcement are done in a manner that follows rules and regulations. It also means that information is freely available and directly accessible to those who will be affected by such decisions and their enforcement. It also means that enough information is provided and that it is provided in easily understandable forms and media. Responsiveness Good governance requires that institutions and processes try to serve all stakeholders within a reasonable timeframe. Consensus oriented There are several actors and as many view points in a given society. Good governance requires mediation of the different interests in society to reach a broad consensus in society on what is in the best interest of the whole community and how this can be achieved. It also requires a broad and long-term perspective on what is needed for sustainable human development and how to achieve the goals of such development. This can only result from an understanding of the historical, cultural and social contexts of a given society or community. Equity and inclusiveness A societys well being depends on ensuring that all its members feel that they have a stake in it and do not feel excluded from the mainstream of society. This requires all groups, but particularly the most vulnerable, have opportunities to improve or maintain their well being. Effectiveness and efficiency Good governance means that processes and institutions produce results that meet the needs of society while making the best use of resources at their disposal. The concept of efficiency in the context of good governance also covers the sustainable use of natural resources and the protection of the environment. Accountability Accountability is a key requirement of good governance. Not only governmental institutions but also the private sector and civil society organizations must be accountable to the public and to their institutional stakeholders. Who is accountable to whom varies depending on whether decisions or actions taken are internal or external to an organization or institution. In general an organization or an institution is accountable to those who will be affected by its decisions or actions. Accountability cannot be enforced without transparency and the rule of law. CONCLUSION

From the above discussion it should be clear that good governance is an ideal which is difficult to achieve in its totality. Very few countries and societies have come close to achieving good governance in its totality. However, to ensure sustainable human development, actions must be taken to work towards this ideal with the aim of making it a reality. RELATED LINKSSUPPORTING INCLUSIVE DEMOCRATIC OWNERSHIP A HOW TO NOTE FOR DONORS 1 Rosalind Eyben 1. Summary Even in stable democracies broad-based, inclusive policy ownership is rare. It is even more unlikely in country contexts that are more institutionally and socially complex and experiencing rapid economic and social change. With an aid effectiveness agenda that

promotes ownership and accountability in partner countries this means looking critically at how "ownership" is constructed in the policy process and the role of donors in support. Policy is never just technical. It involves politics and power. Donors have to understand how policy works in practice (as distinct from theory) in any particular country context. It requires undertaking power analyses with themselves factored in - as organisations and individuals - who can make a positive or negative contribution. They need to be self-aware to avoid disempowering others in the policy process. At the same time, they should engage with a wide and diverse group of policy actors in state, civil society and the private sector and whenever possible support debate and locally driven independent research. While taking a back seat in providing policy advice, they should seek out and support pro-poor reform policy networks, particularly those straddling state-society divisions. Supporting the realisation of human rights for all and facilitating poor peoples empowerment in all the programmes they support are two key measures that donors can employ for long term strengthening of inclusive and democratic country ownership. Following a brief discussion of context and challenges, this how to note is drafted in

the form of some frequently (donor) asked questions: How can donors support pro-poor policy change? Why do donors have to do power analyses? How can donors avoid interfering politically? With whom should donors engage? How should donors work with civil society for inclusive and democratic ownership? Is supporting the realisation of human rights a violation of inclusive country ownership? How can donors facilitate poor peoples empowerment for more inclusive and democratic ownership?

1 This Note was commissioned by the Swiss Agency for Development Co-operation and a previous draft was presented in October 2010 at a meeting of Cluster A of the OECD/DAC Working Party on Aid Effectiveness, chaired by Philippe Besson to whom I am very grateful for his guidance and encouragement. Thanks also to my colleague Jeremy Holland for his feedback. 3 2. Background: emerging trends in donor thinking Globalisation means that no country is an island unto itself. Full autonomy is neither feasible nor desirable. However, countries heavily dependent on aid have less autonomy than others. Their policy choices and capacities for action are constrained by the views and wishes of international development institutions. Ideological dependency too often accompanies financial aid. That donor driven policies do not work was the

origin of the Paris Declarations concept of ownership. However, five years later, aid recipient countries are still subject to donor driven policies and donors are still wondering what to do about it. The problems that first led to the ownership agenda

have not gone away (Booth 2008a). Even when aid modalities may have changed, these have not necessarily solved the problem; for example, there is evidence from Mozambique that General Budget Support has made donors more interfering (De Renzio and Hanlon 2007). Furthermore, since Paris there has been a strong and recent donor trend to undermine the ownership agenda. The economic and financial crisis is placing donor governments under increasing pressure to demonstrate to their domestic constituencies that every Euro in the aid budget is spent efficiently and effectively. Rather than releasing control, the logic of this argument leads to donors seeking ever greater influence. As one donor representative in Mali put it, What donors want is a structure that can start working quickly, someone to talk to, someone who will answer the phone, answer their questions and follow up their programs - not an administration that would be efficient for and accountable to the population (Bergameschi 2007:13). Thus, although the

intention of country ownership was to reverse the process by which recipient governments were more formally accountable to their donors than to their own citizens (Horner and Power 2009), this is being undermined by an equally strong (or stronger) imperative to demonstrate to their own citizens that they are in control of how the money is spent: The privilege of a ring-fenced budget demands more not less scrutiny so that we can look the hard-pressed taxpayer in the eye, so that we can reassure them they are getting 100p of value for every pound spent on development 2 Nevertheless, there are promising signs that development aid is in practice making progress with the ownership agenda. Firstly, what was initially conceived in the Paris Declaration as ownership by the executive branch of government has shifted to a recognition of the role of formal representative institutions parliament and regional and local government assemblies as well as to an appreciation that civil society participation in

policy processes goes beyond the involvement of donor-friendly NGOs.

2 UK Secretary of State for International Development, Andrew Mitchell quoted in the Daily Telegraph 4 July 2010 4 Secondly, just as the Accra Agenda for Action (OECD/DAC 2008) extended the notion of country ownership beyond the executive branch of government, so also did discussions on the road to Accra highlight the notion of development effectiveness that aid is only effective if it achieves good development results in terms of the sustainable reduction of poverty, gender equality and the realisation of human rights (Better Aid 2010). Re- connecting aid effectiveness with the purposes of aid links the ownership agenda to donor approaches that are grounded in the principles of participation, accountability and transparency (Horner and Power 2009). Increasing emphasis on strengthening and deepening democratic institutions reflects donor awareness that the most they can aspire to support is not broad-based ownership of specific policies such as PRSPs but rather to help states become both more effective and more accountable to all their citizens through strengthening those institutional arrangements for policymaking and implementation that have broad-based legitimacy. Thirdly, a growing body of research evidence on power and policy processes is beginning to inform our understanding of aid relations, bringing the concept of broad-based ownership back into the real world of messy politics. When donors sought recipient country ownership of Poverty Reduction Strategies, they forgot that such ownership would be unlikely in their own countries, let alone in countries with high levels of economic inequality and political exclusion (Faust 2010). It is a very rare occurrence when all the citizens of a country are in agreement with their governments policies. If donors want to promote democratic country ownership, they must recognise that political contest

(including riots and demonstrations) and ideological disagreement are the benchmark of a working democracy. These are three encouraging signs that the ownership agenda is connecting at one and the same time with both the ambition of the Millennium Development Goals and with the real world of aid. This note is preliminary guide to what donors need to do more of to sustain and strengthen their support to inclusive and democratic ownership in countries to which they are providing aid. It is couched in terms of answers to the questions likely to be prompted in response to the emerging trends in the ownership agenda that have just been discussed. 3. Frequently Asked Questions 3.1 3 Think and act politically about policy Country ownership was a response to concerns that donors were diagnosing problems and proposing policy solutions in aid recipient countries, potentially undermining How can donors support pro-poor policy change?

3 This section draws on Booth et al 2008, Unsworth 2010, Eyben 2008, UNRISD 2010, Menocal et al. 2007 5 democratic governance in the countries concerned and making governments in aid recipient countries more accountable to donors than to their own citizens. However, the manner in which donor agencies have until now tended to conceptualise policy has influenced how they have engaged with ownership. Policy is understood as a response to an objectively real problem the existence and nature of which is judged as independent from the political position of those making the observation. Policy is understood as technical a kind of testable hypothesis in relation to a publicly recognised problem if X, then Y.

Research into how policy actually works in practice in countries with democratic regimes indicates that while policy can benefit from evidence and technical know-how, politics tend to over-ride technical advice, leading to policy responses of informed improvisation rather than strategic planning. The national development strategies that donors advocate for aid recipient countries have long since been recognised as of little value back home in their own countries. Understanding how policy works in practice in any particular country is a first step to moving away from a technocratic approach. Various versions of an analytical framework are available (e.g. Keeley & Scoones 2003, McGee 2004; Booth 2008). One of these (Eyben 2008) explains the policy process as a power struggle in which people (actors) working within institutional rules of the game, draw on current ways in which we interpret our world (discourses) shape policy decisions. Policy change - or successful resistance to change- occurs through networks of people that are Key Quote UNRISD research suggests that countries that are dependent on multilateral financial institutions show

high levels of policy capture by these institutions. Those with a longer history of democracy in which policy making reflects compromises between politicians and citizens have pursued more heterodox policies. UNRISD 2010 p.287 Political Actors Institutions Discourses Policy Networks6 operating within the constraints and opportunities offered by the institutional and discourse environment. This framework allows donors to explore where and how policy networks are operating and, identify which ones they wish to support. A study of donor efforts to support health sector reform In Uganda and Tanzania concluded that donors could have done more to establish creative alliances among propoor reformers in the ministry of health and civil society groups There was a reluctance among donor staff to undertake this kind of approach because of how they interpreted the principle of country leaving donors to alternate between meekly accepting government inadequacies and pulling out/cutting back funding, as opposed to working with like-minded groups within (and outside) government departments to change the direction of government travel (Booth et al. 2008:16). On the contrary, in Peru DFID identified the importance of such policy networks for reforming the health sector, not only by providing them with seed-funding but also helping them broaden their appeal through adopting the discourse of a rights-based approach to health (Wilson 2005). The policy process is always contested and the outcome often unpredictable. Hence a possible donor approach would be to develop long-term and consistent relations with

recipient organisations and networks (including those within governments) which are pursuing a change agenda more or less compatible with the donors own values and mission. Rather than aiming to achieve a pre-determined specific real-world change in which the recipient organisation is treated as an instrument for that change, the focus of donor effort would be to support reformers own efforts in what may be a rapidly changing policy environment. DFID in Bolivia undertook such an approach in supporting for four to five years an apex organisation the Comit Enlac in its efforts to represent the views and perspectives of its member associations of self-employed workers during a turbulent political period with a frequently shifting agenda. 3.2 Why do donors have to do power analyses? 4 If donors ignore power they risk helping sustain rather than transform the institutional arrangements that keep people poor Today a number of donors are incorporating power analyses both into their diagnostic work and their governance assessments for informing programming and policy dialogue. However, because such analyses take donors out of their technical comfort zone, there may be an institutional resistance to integrate such diagnoses into agencies day-to-day business. However, when the political contradictions and challenges in the aid relationship are sanitised out in official documentation and reports, there is a high risk of donors forgetting the actual reality in which they are seeking to achieve good development results.

4 This section draws on OECD/DAC 2008, Bayart 2000, Tadros 2010, www.powercube/net7 There are many ways of analysing how power works and shapes who is involved in or excluded from policy making. 5 Here is one possible framework particularly useful in

support of inclusive and democratic ownership: Visible power is manifest through the formal institutional arrangements for policy making and implementation, such as the civil service, the legislature, local government etc; certain policy actors, such as Ministers and parliamentarians are visibly powerful; Informal power is less visible it is hidden to many observers but nevertheless shapes the policy agenda behind the faade; certain institutions and policy actors, such as the army or business elites may be very influential although not part of the formal procedural arrangements; donors are often influential in this way; Invisible power is at work through peoples internalisation of norms and beliefs about how the world should be and it can invisibly shape policy choices; invisible power is challenged through processes of empowerment when individuals and groups are able to imagine their world differently and to realise successfully that vision by changing the relations of power that have been keeping them in conditions of poverty or marginalisation. If donors focus only changing arrangements in relation to the first kind of power, they may find that hoped for outcomes in terms of more inclusive ownership fail to realize. For example, the increase in numbers of women in parliament in many countries has not automatically led to gender equality concerns becoming a more central policy issue

5 Political economy analyses are a version of power analyses that look at the distribution of power and wealth between groups and individuals (OECD GOVNET website) An increasing number of donors have been undertaking such studies but in 2005 it was noted that there were significant differences in focus. For example Sida was interested

in human rights, democracy and poverty reduction; the World Bank on formal public institutions and informal practices within these and the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs on state stability (Dahlstergaard et al 2005). For different kinds of power analysis see www.powercube/net Key Quote Common approaches to citizen engagement such as the PRSP process and the plethora of citizen summits and listening sessions emphasize bringing everyone to the table as stakeholders, but fail to recognize that underlying power dynamics between conflicting interests have a huge impact on peoples capacity to participate and influence outcomes. All stakeholders are not equal, yet they are often treated as such, while agendas and parameters of discussion are defined in ways that leave out crucial issues. Just Associates 20068 (Tadros 2010). Nor does the visible presence of womens rights organisations necessarily result in any major policy shift unless informal and invisible power are recognised and addressed. In Uganda, for instance, donors supported womens NGOs struggling to change the policy on land reform to make it more gender equitable. Wishing to conciliate the donors, the government appeared receptive to the NGO demands but processes of informal co-optation and the invisible power that led to many women leaders fearing to challenge the patriarchal status quo resulted in a dilution of the NGOs demands and a failure to shift the inequitable status quo (Nabacwa 2010). 3.3 How can donors avoid interfering politically? 6 They cant....... Donors are political actors

Good donor practice requires informed decisions based on careful contextual analysis that importantly includes the effect of donors own activities and presence on this context. However, for many aid agency staff the principle of country ownership implies they should not interfere with local politics. This is why donors are often invisible in donor-funded power analyses. But even if donors decide to limit their role to the provision of objective technical advice, to whom should that advice be provided and for what end? Which policy networks are likely to make the most use of such advice and why? To act technically in a politically complex context is likely to make donors pawns of the more powerful vested interests and therefore by default makes them, albeit, nave, and political actors. In Bolivia, for example, donors sought to establish a civil society fund as part of the Poverty Reduction Strategy without appreciating they were being manipulated in a conflict between secular and clerical factions within the ruling elite (Eyben 2003). Donor staff exercise power every day through how they relate to others. They may impose their own point of view, ignoring or dismissing as irrelevant other ways of understanding and of tackling problems. Those proposing alternatives feel disempowered and will drop out of the conversation, including at donor-sponsored workshop spaces where power inequalities can be all too evident - but also can be

6 This section draws on Booth et al 2008, Eyben 2003 Key Quote The lessons learnt from my experience, as a member of the donor community in promoting accountability in Bolivia ... suggest the need for an explicit recognition that we are political actors and that donor staff need support and training to help them perform more effectively as such. This means

they need to be as effective in managing relationships as they are in managing money. Eyben 2003: 259 successfully challenged. Supporting inclusive ownership requires donor staff developing self-awareness of how power operates in their relationship with people in the country where they are working. The organisational and individual critical self-reflection that this demands delivers benefits for donors as well as for those they work with. Donors too will learn to think differently, imagine new possibilities and debate alternative choices. 3.4 With whom should donors engage? 7 With diverse groups of policy actors in state, political parties, the private sector and civil society The term development diplomacy encourages donor staff to engage with as wide as possible range of policy actors, not only to learn about the many different perspectives and diagnoses of a countrys problems and policy opportunities but also to play a helpful role in facilitating the airing of debates, including financing independent think tanks that can provide research-based evidence to add substance to these debates. General or sector budget support can play a potentially important role in encouraging broad-based ownership of policy reform both in their own policy dialogue with governments and through facilitating civil society access to policy making. In many cases, governments commitment to good development results means that such dialogue is primarily about the choice of means rather than the principle itself. These

are debates that should involve not only government officials, parliamentarians and civil society policy networks but also seek to capture the views and experiences of those living in poverty. Thus, donors can play a useful role in helping make such debates an empowering rather than disempowering and exclusionary process for poor and marginalised people. However, donors should avoid playing too big a part themselves in

such debates. To this end, donors need to avoid imposing a single harmonized analysis of the countrys major problems of poverty, the environment or growth. These are complex problems subject to multiple diagnoses and solutions and broad-based country ownership of the process of solving such problems is diminished if donors insist on a single diagnosis. Like venture capitalists, donors can simultaneously finance two different approaches to solving a problem. DFID and Sida in Bolivia supported two separate initiatives in support

7 This section draws on Unsworth 2009, Eyben 2008 UNRISD 2010 Key Quote Donors would see their role not as experts bringing solutions, nor as politically neutral partners, but as convenors, facilitators and politically aware contributors to serious debate. Unsworth 2009, p.891 10 to peoples right to identity. One was through financing a civil society consortium via the intermediary of an international NGO; the other was to finance the National Election Commission via UNDP. These initiatives each worked relatively well on their own terms. The donors were facilitating variously-positioned actors to tackle the problem according to their different diagnoses and consequent purposes, and thus supporting a variety of different kinds of actions and projects. Aid agencies should not force people into partnerships but they can provide neutral spaces people can meet without any commitment other than to communicate with each other for the purpose of learning. This should be understood as a sufficient and entirely satisfactory output without any requirement for a consensual document or agreed plan of the way forward.

3.5 How should donors work with civil society for inclusive and democratic ownership 8 By recognising that states and societies help build each other, work with policy actors in state and civil society prepared for mutual engagement. Formal categories of nation-state and civil society may obscure rather than illuminate contextually specific and historically generated social and political practices and relationships and permeable institutional boundaries across which policy networks bargain for or resist policy change. Donors can support such bargaining by, for example encouraging a broad-based and inclusive tax regime that engages taxpayer-citizens in politics. This concerns a process of constructive contestation (Pritchett 2010) in which citizens become aware that they are taxpayers and organise themselves to make demands on government, while both sides must be in a position to reach an inclusive tax. At the same time, donors need to recognize that not all groups can be incorporated into such a bargaining regime. Inclusive ownership can occur through social movements that are contesting established values and structural power relations and have the clout to exert pressure for change from a more radical position (UNRISD 2010). Direct donor support of a social movement may put at risk its legitimacy and ways of working (OECD/DAC 2011 forthcoming) but donors can support institutions - such as human rights commissions - that keep open the space for such movements. Strengthening civil society is not always a route to inclusive ownership, as it depends on the context and on who is involved. Furthermore, donor enthusiasm for civil society can undermine state capacity, for example when donor-financed NGOs hire the most capable state officials. Donors encouragement of civil society without considering the capacity of the state to negotiate and respond can lead to demand overload.

8 This section draws on Giffen & Judge Benequista et al 2010 and Unsworth & Moore 2010. 11 Donors have a responsibility to ensure they relate with a broad range of civil society organisations from different perspectives and geographical bases. A common failure of donors has been to engage only with user-friendly civil society, while representatives of the more excluded sections of the population, who are less used and possibly less willing - to meeting with educated foreigners are ignored. Donor interest in harmonisation can result in them all supporting the same relatively small group of civil society actors and reduce inclusiveness. At the same donors must avoid perceiving state and civil society as binaries in opposition to each other and missing opportunities to support networks and organisations that are straddling the divide. Donors can help by supporting those working across the state /society borders and brokering connections. This can be more effective than programmes that focus narrowly on either governance reform or civilsociety strengthening. A study from Mexico looked at how reformers in the federal government (with World Bank and others support) facilitated policy change through creating regional economic development councils with elected representatives of indigenous producer organisations. This success depended heavily on the presence of a faction within the state institution prepared to go into partnership with autonomous social organisations. The study concludes that pro-poor change occurs when there are coalitions between state and society actors who share a common reform agenda and apply simultaneous top-down and bottom-up pressure to neutralise resistance from established elites (Fox 2004). 3.6 Is supporting the realisation of human rights a violation of inclusive country ownership? 9 No, support to human rights for all helps strengthen such ownership. While donors have to avoid seeking to impose the policies that they prefer thus

undermining domestic policy processes of bargaining and consensus this should not lead them to supporting a government that seriously disrespects human rights. Donors

9 This section draws on Foresti et al 2006 and Benequista et al 2010 Key Quote Our research strongly suggests that strategies are needed which focus on the interaction between institutions and citizens that is, on the relationships between states and societies in constructing and implementing development policy. In certain circumstances, citizen engagement with the state can help to confer legitimacy, demand accountability, influence policies, counter elite capture of resources and implement effective services. Putting citizens at the centre, as members of states and societies, is critical for moving beyond the traditional statecivil society divide that has characterised much donor funding and policy. Benequista et al 2010 p. 312 therefore have to work for a careful balance between supporting these domestic processes on the one hand and human rights conventions on the other. Human rights can contribute to the implementation of the ownership principle because it leads to citizenship based ownership. Citizens and their representative organisations are placed at the centre of policy making. Their knowledge, voices, and mobilisation make democratic and inclusive ownership a reality. Citizenship strengthening leads to better informed people who can understand their rights and are able to engage constructively and effectively in claim-making, collective action, governance and political processes.

Human rights conventions also provide guidance on how donors can help put the ownership principle into practice through support to state and civil society capacity. Donors can provide support to strengthen citizenship rights and enable marginalised and excluded citizens to have a greater voice in governance (OECD/DAC 2006). 3.7 How can donors facilitate poor peoples empowerment for more inclusive and democratic ownership? 10 In addition to specific support to political empowerment, all programmes and services can be designed for empowerment multiplier effects Political empowerment is about peoples capacity to influence policy, make demands and call to account the state institutions that impact upon their lives. When people in poverty are unable to exert influence, states are unlikely to create enabling environments for good development results. Political empowerment occurs in the complex, ever-shifting and blurred boundaries of state-society relations. Poor peoples empowerment through grass roots organisations and popular participation is often insufficient for changing the historical relations of inequality and exclusion that limit the states capacity to create an enabling environment for pro-poor growth. Subordinated

10 This section draws on the authors draft of a forthcoming DAC Policy Guidance Note on empowerment and propoor growth Key Quote Aid is only effective if it achieves good development results and good development results are not possible if gender inequalities persist, environmental damage is accepted or human rights are abused. Mary Robinson

OECD/DAC Conference in Dublin 200813 groups need to be brought into political processes through a combination of representative and deliberative institutions. Examples of the latter include health councils in Brazil and participatory planning in Uganda, where it is mandatory for districts to channel funds further down to counties, giving greater voice to ordinary citizens than if they were engaging at the district level. Involving citizens in making decisions about the management of public resources and institutions - what has been termed co-governance - is an effective way of strengthening accountability. Even so, power relations may prevent many people from speaking their minds, even if they attend the meetings organised specifically for that purpose. In these circumstances people may first need to strengthen and learn to amplify their voices within more informal and familiar community settings. In all the programmes and projects that donors finance they can check whether these can be designed to have a broader empowering effect as well as achieving the programmes specific goals. For example, micro-finance can be empowering if attention is paid to the formation and functioning of micro-credit groups as spaces for members to articulate their needs and interests, for participatory learning and for collective action to challenge the status quo (Mayoux 2000). Attention to the how of empowerment in addition to the what of the technical objectives brings a number of advantages: It can lead to a higher uptake of the services on offer childrens school attendance increases and women make more use of birthing centres; Key Quote The landless in this locality elected me. When I was elected I tried best to serve their interests. I was very shy before I joined this organisation. I couldnt talk, was always afraid.I had never met any policeman. And now when the

police arrest somebody, I myself go to the police station I ask them why a working man has been arrested. I get them freed. I know who is a criminal and who is a day labourer here. . The rich have affinity with the rich. We couldnt protest if they beat our children. We always worked in their house. They take us as their servant. We want a society where there is equality. There should be no discrimination between rich and poor. My organisation is mobilising for that society. From Mossamat Jomila Khatuns story as told to Naila Kabeer (Eyben et al 2008)14 When the project is designed to give people a voice in how a service is managed, it is more likely to be delivered efficiently and effectively; It may introduce shifts in power relations without being labelled an empowerment project, which may seem threatening to those in authority. 4. Conclusion This note has emphasized the importance that donors understand how policy works in practice and their need to be aware that they will be interfering politically. They should facilitate in-country debate and encourage pro poor reform networks of policy actors. Supporting the realisation of human rights for all and facilitating poor peoples empowerment in all the programmes they support are two key measures that donors can employ for long term strengthening of inclusive ownership. In so doing, donors need to play a more nuanced and genuinely supportive role. This indicates the importance of recruiting, training and retaining staff able to work comfortably and sensitively with ambiguity, paradox and unanticipated outcomes, with a high degree of political acumen, sensitivity to context and strong relationship skills. There are very rarely quick wins for donors and past gains can rapidly unravel. Donor

agencies cannot deliver policy effectiveness in the countries they are seeking to help. This highlights the need for donors to consider issues of attribution and contribution when measuring their effectiveness in supporting pro-poor policy outcomes in aid recipient countries. A one-sided emphasis on delivering and reporting results for taxpayers in donor countries can put at risk their support to strengthening domestic accountability in partner countries

Transparency and Good Governance Recognizing that good governance requires effective, representative, transparent and accountable government institutions at all levels, public participation, effective checks and balances, and the separation of powers, as well as noting the role of information and communications technologies in achieving these aims: 2 / 43 Promote cooperation among national agencies in the Hemisphere charged with the development and maintenance of procedures and practices for the preparation, presentation, auditing and oversight of public accounts, with technical assistance where appropriate from multilateral organizations and multilateral development banks (MDBs), and support exchanges of information on oversight activities related to the collection, allocation and expenditure of public funds; Encourage cooperation and exchange of experiences and parliamentary best practices between national legislators of the Hemisphere, while respecting the separation and balance of powers, through bilateral, subregional and hemispheric vehicles such as the InterParliamentary Forum of the Americas (FIPA); Work jointly to facilitate cooperation among national institutions with the responsibility to guarantee the protection, promotion and respect of human rights, and access to and freedom of information, with the aim of developing best practices to improve the administration of information held by governments on individuals and facilitating citizen access to that information;

Create and implement programs with the technical and financial support, where appropriate, of multilateral organizations and MDBs, to facilitate public participation and transparency, using information and communications technologies where applicable, in decision-making processes and in the delivery of government services, and to publish information within timelimits established by national legislation at all levels of government; Media and Communications Noting that access to existing and emerging information and communications technologies has an increasingly significant impact on the lives of individuals and offers important opportunities for democratic development, and that the media has an important role to play in promoting a democratic culture: Ensure the media is free from arbitrary interventions by the state, and specifically, work to remove legal or regulatory impediments to media access by registered political parties including by facilitating, where possible, equitable access during election campaigns to television and radio; Encourage cooperation among public and private broadcasters, including cable operators, and independent broadcast regulatory bodies and governmental organizations, in order to facilitate the exchange of best industry practices and technologies at the hemispheric level, to guarantee free, open and independent media; Encourage media self-regulation efforts, including norms of ethical conduct, to address the concerns of civil society with regard to, inter alia, reducing the dissemination of extreme violence and negative stereotypes of women and ethnic, social and other groups, contributing in this way to the promotion of changes in attitudes and cultural patterns through the 3 / 43 projection of pluralistic, balanced and non-discriminatory images