Communication for Governance and Accountability

My first two questions respond to the quote found under the “Participation, Transparency, and Consensus Building in Support of Public Sector Reform: The Case of Nicaragua” case study:

“This experience demonstrates how communication can be used holistically in support of good governance, to build coalitions and constituencies around reforms, and to increase citizen demand for accountability and foster participation at the local level” (348).

While transparent communication increases public opinion and participation in a government, does it also prohibit corruption in by offering the public the opportunity to contribute to the reforms?  Or is the purpose to solely convince the citizenship of the government’s current programs?

Does influencing participation through communication strategies increase access to propaganda, or does it regulate for a truthful analysis/identity of the government and its departments?

And in response to the “Gaining State Support for Social Accountability” section of “Accountability through Public opinion…” article, who defines social accountability? And is it determined by the citizens or large international organizations conducting these studies, like the World Bank that published this research?

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Explore Media’s Role in Global Development

While reading “Family Tree of Theories, Methodologies and Strategies in Development Communication” I found myself contemplating how these theories  can apply to developed countries, and their role in development, in particular dispersing relief aid.  It’s evident that humanitarian aid is a successful example of how social marketing can solicit donations. But even with all of the available media resources, there is also a lack of interpersonal communication between these organizations and their efforts. After reading an article written in the Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/lets-help-the-philippines–but-not-like-we-helped-haiti/2013/11/15/8b8a890c-4ca5-11e3-be6b-d3d28122e6d4_story.html, I realized that the communication in the Western world needs to be developed more when considering foreign aid dispersal. The article in the Post stressed that, “the response to Typhoon Haiyan can and should be the first major relief effort in which all humanitarian organizations and aid agencies publish the details of their planned and actual spending and activities online, in real time, using a common format.” There obviously has to be better communication policy in how we view development and administer it between organizations.

I applaud China’s attempt at developing Africa’s media resources, but I was burdened with the fact that their efforts expand to several different countries that have different needs and power structures that weren’t all stated in the study. Far too often, the Western world will clump African countries into one and generalize their reaction to China’s investments. And it brings up how we analyze development in general. The study would have been more in-depth if PCMLP focused on one African country’s experience with Chinese policies, while using the modes and methods that that particular country would prefer.

I am interested in the participatory influence of health officials in the programming identified in ”Informatization–Dramatization: Communicating Health in East Asian Television Dramas”. And also, did rates of infectious diseases or other unhealthful practices decline after a certain time after these shows premiered?

Soft Power and National Image Building

This week’s general introduction to the inception of public diplomacy and its evolution during the information stage, where nontraditional actors are given a voice, was extremely fascinating.  Because of the heightened importance of soft power relations, public diplomacy is major tool in exchanging cultural /political ideas and policies without overt force.  Does the use of public diplomacy and international information exchanges equate to transparency between nations and their citizens?  Or is there a general message that officially must be abided by through endorsed governmental organizations?

What are the different types of diplomacy and how can we accurately define their uses in specific situations?

Has the information age obstructed reliable outlets by contributing to the fact that, “attention rather than information [has become] the scarce resource…[where] those who can distinguish valuable information from background clutter gain power”(Nye, 100)? And how can we manage this influx of opinions and accounts  in order to accurately disperse holistic information?

Convergence, Culture, and Creative Industries

This week’s subtopic on “Convergence, Culture, and Creative Industries” gave an insightful view on how alternative markets  and globalization are adjusting media relations. In reference to the Nollywood article, Jade Miller argued how the Nigerian movie industry has connected ignored populations of people by redefining what it means to produce in a global network. Do you agree that success in this network can be defined as global exposure instead of million dollar profits?

Convergence, also poses a threat to traditional hierarchal standards, but can also empower a small amount of programmers and restrict the influence of switchers. Who decides when to converge and when not to?

Based on Castells’ chapter, how does diversified communication practices reflect diversified ownership, especially since the concentration of network power in the media has become more concentrated?

The Rise of the Neopolitik

The major theme from this week’s readings regarding “The rise of the Neopolitik discussed the Internet’s influence on intercultural relationships and the progress made within public diplomacy. The advances the Internet has created to bridge what is known with what is acted on has given everyday citizens, nonprofits, and smaller nongovernmental organizations a way to interact and become the changing forces within the international community. Although, we can clearly see the benefits of participating in a global network, the Internet’s use has been manipulated to increase the power of networks typically responsible with shaping world relations. As noted in David Bollier’s article, “The Rise of the Netpolitik” he emphasizes the role the Internet plays within public diplomacy in a grand soft power attack. He uses the suggestions by Warring Partridge, who implies that the internet can enhance management, protocols, recruitment, education programs, and language skills within the official government departments. But how can everyday citizens participate in public diplomacy, a role typically reserved for the State Department?

 

The “Soft Power, Hard Issues” article written by Shanthi Kalathil addressed what Bollier touched on regarding an issue that, “is not just how U.S. values can be disseminated to affect global values…[but an] influence [that] will be both ways”(Bollier, 20). In order to promote this change and relationship within public diplomacy, Kalathil suggests that, “truly new public diplomacy should focus on creating access to the Internet to encourage bottom-up competing voices and vibrant discussion” (Kalathil, 19). Her suggestions focus on engaging “voice-less” audiences and promoting a shared platform for countries to participate in collective dialogue. If international public diplomacy were to adopt a fair influence within all countries, how would it affect the United States, which doesn’t gain as much international influence or exposure than the countries we have influenced ourselves?

 

My last question focuses on “People/Networks/Power” by Bollier, and I was struck by the quote that the Internet has become a ‘“platform for social software…[which] offers all kinds of new ways to create memberships, to participate, and construct grand narratives”’(Bollier, 34). I quickly referred to the definitions that explored the varying uses of propaganda, and I wondered if anyone thought of public diplomacy as a form of propaganda?

Reflection #8

Good Afternoon, everyone! My group and I are presenting on this week’s topic: “Internet, Media and Power: Infrastructure, Stakeholders, and Governance”. And as already stated on my group member’s posts, here are a few questions to think about prior to our next class meeting:

1. What would differentiate a controlled media and an uncontrolled media? And is the media in the U.S controlled?

2. How do global activists successfully relay and promote their messages in communication networks against the established power-making influences?

3. Some scholars claim that the Internet provides an open forum for free speech, while others argue that the Internet is dominated by elite groups. What role do activists play in this environment?

4. How might activists use the Internet to overcome nation-based constraints such as the ones mentioned in the reading (e.g. surveillance, lack of access or time) and reach global audiences? Can you think of an example?

Reflection 7

This week’s readings were disheartening and but provided a necessary list of sources that determine how our media resources are currently organized and directed. Unfortunately, the reality is that the media is in the power of a few who control smaller organizations that propagate and individualize certain opinions to each community that they reach. How does this affect the marginalization of communities that don’t have the resources to represent themselves?

We see this mass collection of media separated in a few large corporations, who is the acting force that regulates them?

Are the interests of these media powerhouses to earn money and expand their influence, or to actually entertain and educate the audiences that they reach?