May 17, 2016
ISLAMABAD: A working paper released by BBC Media Action has called for donor support for independent media to effectively work to curb corruption and foster accountability.
Terming the media as one of the most effective assets available to society to curb corruption and foster accountability, the paper 'Curbing corruption and fostering accountability', argues that independent media is deeply imperiled and often poorly understood, especially in fragile states and by the international development sector. It maintains development strategies have rarely prioritized support to independent media. Unless this changes, corruption can be expected to continue to increase and the accountability of states will diminish. The paper has been written principally for decision-makers in donor and other development support organizations concerned about the development costs of corruption who do not currently prioritize support to independent media.
The paper says effective media support strategies will require more than an increase in financial contributions. They will require the development of more coherent, context-specific and evidence-based strategies rooted in learning from what works and does not.
It concludes that the capacity of the media to hold power – including corrupt power – to account is consistently proven, both historically and recently. The paper argues that, while there have been notable major investments in local or national media from a small number of donors, the development system as a whole has weak capacity and a poor record in supporting this area. Without action, the incentive systems that shape development priorities make it inevitable that such support will continue to be marginal.
The paper describes the increasing economic and political challenges facing the media in fragile states and argues that the media is losing its independence and its capacity to act as a check on corruption and foster accountability. It argues that while the resources available to support media independence and uphold media’s capacity to serve publics remain low, many of those who do not want to be held to account are investing heavily in order to control or intimidate independent media.
It looks at ways of supporting media capable of tackling corruption, including through online platforms, investigative journalist networks and other media support approaches. It argues that successful media support strategies are likely to use a range of approaches and a mix of digital and analogue media platforms, grounded in strong contextual analysis and research.
Pakistan Today, November 28, 2016
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