Communication and Governance

In Taking Direct Accountability Seriously, some points that stood out, the authors argued that crystalized public opinion is necessary for accountability and good governance. Accountability was found to require the activation and mobilization of public demands. This ties in with our readings of people and networks. The melding of horizontal and vertical media systems is making it harder for governments to be immune to public demands or for public opinion to remain latent. Though as the authors pointed out, effective communication is necessary to achieve an informed and mobilized public.

But will the activation and mobilization of public demands lead to development and good governance in the anticipated direction?

In Governance Reform under Real World Conditions, the authors argue that public opinion is a critical part of governance and an essential part of the good governance architecture. The strength of governance reform and poverty reduction was found to lie with the citizens and their ability to voice out their needs. Dialogue is central to these ideas. Reaching the citizens however, may depend on the existing government. This reading ties in with the class discussions on the role of communication for development and poverty reduction. The challenge is to determine the communication model and network that will engage citizens and crystallize their needs for effective poverty reduction.

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