Posts Tagged ‘Ghana’

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2009: A retrospective on my year of media development adventures

January 4, 2010

2009 was a banner year for me in terms of media development. It was not by any means my starting point in media, but it could go down as year in which my work achieved lift off. But all was done in the name of helping people spread information, express themselves, and/or strengthen their networks with other people to promote change. So, I thought I’d take a look back at my year in media development, get it all together in one place, take stock, establish something to compare 2010 to, reminisce a little.

Researching Extractive Industry Transparency and Journalism Development in Africa

I began the year leading a team through a study to assess needs and effective training practices to raise the level of business journalism in Ghana, Nigeria, and Uganda. Our findings would then be synthesized into a report to provide training and media development recommendations to Revenue Watch Institute, which wanted to use training to improve business journalism, and promote extractive industry transparency. The best part of this project was that I got to spend two weeks in January in balmy Nigeria–a country the Bradt guide calls “Africa for the Advanced”–and meet face to face with Nigerian journalists, journalism educators, and media development experts. Lagos, in particular, was INTENSE. And fantastic. I also got a chance in this to bone up on my skills developing surveys and interview guides, building networks of contacts, designing a team research wiki, and producing a report of findings. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Free Expression, mobile communications, and journalism training – A couple of weeks in the life

December 21, 2009

Well, it’s been a vibrant and boisterous couple of weeks in Lake Media Development, my hometown. I’ve been busy with a wide range of topics for a wide range of reasons. Just like the McPoyles like it. I’ve long taken the view that expression and development issues are so entwined and intermingled that any truly effective solution to them requires an expansive and comprehensive understanding of them. So, any chance I get to dig deep into new facets is more than welcome. This is the stuff that I live and breath.

Here’s a taste of the last few weeks in my adventures and explorations:

Defamation of Religions and Freedom of Expression

I’ve been reading about the Human Rights Council’s resolution 7/19 “Combating defamation of religions”, passed last spring, condemning the defamation of religions as a human rights violation. It would make sense that religion be seen as a human right, and that we should aim not to trample upon any human right. The concern, however, is that it clashes with the human right to expression. By protecting a religion from defamation, in the way that it is broadly defined in this resolution, you put the clamp on the right to question and even criticize a religion. You give a religion itself the status of having rights, rather than an individual, which has been the norm in international law. Read the rest of this entry ?

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There Will be Ink: A Study of Journalism Training and the Extractive Industries in Nigeria, Ghana, and Uganda

July 23, 2009

Recently, we published a new study on Initiative for Policy Dialogue‘s site called “There Will be Ink: A Study of Journalism Training and the Extractive Industries in Nigeria, Ghana, and Uganda“.

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The backstory is this. I spent the last year at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs researching extractive industry journalism (oil, gas, mining) in Nigeria, working closely with Acting Director of International Media, Advocacy, and Communications Specialization, Anya Schiffrin. As part of this research, I spoke with Nigerian journalists and experts on media and development in Nigeria. These interviews focused on the challenges journalists face in covering oil and monitoring government revenues from this industry, and what is needed to overcome these challenges. Of course, this is an extremely important issue in Nigeria, given that oil revenues comprise the lion’s share of government income, and therefore play an important role in paying for government expenditure on infrastructure and services. And, Nigerian oil is rife with corruption, secrecy, and violence. The effect is that the money from this resource often goes into the pockets of the privileged and the powerful, rather than funding development that could overcome rampant poverty in Africa’s most populous. When people talk about countries experiencing a resource curse, Nigeria is very much drinking martinis at that party. Read the rest of this entry ?

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